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THE ME TREE by Ashley Belote


by Ashley Belote ; illustrated by Ashley Belote

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-38485-5
Publisher: Penguin Workshop

A disgruntled bear searches for solitude.

The cave is much too crowded; Bear needs to find another place to live. The community notice board is filled with options, but none is more appealing than a treehouse. A whole house in a tree? Bear plants a signpost out front so everyone knows that this is the titular “Me Tree.” But alas, Bear is not alone. There are squirrels munching on popcorn in the theater room, bees buzzing in the bedroom, and a very (very) slow sloth using the toilet. Bear bellows in frustration: “I just want to be… / ALONE!” The menagerie of animals slumps sadly away. (Sloth even carries a note that reads: “I am sad.”) The text is paced for emergent readers, but those wanting more of a challenge can also scan the plethora of notes and signs found within the art. Belote’s humor shines in the details (the ingredients listed on the “Acorn Flakes” box, for example, include “dirt” and “more dirt”). Some vocabulary, such as potpourri, seems a bit much, but most words skim easily along, thrumming with Bear’s grumpiness (and eventual change of heart). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Celebrates both alone time and community—each one makes the other sweeter.

(Early reader. 5-8)