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THE TREE OF HERE by Chaim  Potok


by Chaim Potok & illustrated by Tony Auth

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-84010-9
Publisher: Knopf

Jason's family is making their "third move in five years"; once again, Jason says good-bye to his friends and packs his belongings. Meanwhile, he finds comfort up in a dogwood tree. It listens to his worries and even answers, and when it's time to leave an old gardener gives him a sapling that promises similar comfort in his future home. Stagily wistful, overwritten, long, and punctuated with pointless scenes, this well-known novelist's first children's story has little to recommend it. Auth captures some of the atmosphere that goes with any big childhood change, but can't compensate for the story's unwieldiness and inconsistencies. At one point, the mother's "sacrifice" for the move is that she'll give up her travel-agency job. That idea is dropped, and readers are given a scene of her at her parents' graves: "It's hard for me to leave them." It would be, if there were any emotional authenticity within these pages--but there's not. (Picture book. 5-9)