A child with ostracism issues finds a timber tutor in this illustrated spinoff from the Land of Stories series.
Waking from his afternoon nap to find a lass weeping on an adjacent stump, the Curvy Tree enquires as to the cause of her distress. She whinges: “I’m never going to find a friend,” because the village’s mean other children “say that I talk funny, I’m not pretty, and I’m not smart.” In response, the tree informs her that his twisted limbs saved him from loggers years ago, and then he lifts her up to see more curvy trees all around, each with a child in its branches. You’ll find friends aplenty, he assures her, when you grow up and leave town—or, as he puts it, “look past the horizon.” The narrative is not only trite, but contradictory, as the child sees the tree on one page and on the next “didn’t even notice it.” Dorman endows the golden-brown Curvy Tree with kindly features, dominated by a ski-shaped nose, that slide freely up and down the trunk. Though an evergreen in the Land of Stories novels, here it looks much more like a hazel, with sparse foliage and corkscrew boughs. The child displays no such signs of physical unattractiveness; on the contrary, her cute, gigantic spectacles and woolly blonde mane make the “not pretty” business sound more like peer envy than teasing.
Pure corn syrup. (Picture book. 6-8)