A boy, his sled, and a fantasy about a very special tree: could it possibly be true?
It’s a very snowy winter, and young Charles wants to find “a wish tree.” Both his brother and sister say there’s “no such thing.” So Charles asks Boggan (a sleek toboggan whose front looks a bit like a face, the rope handle a convenient smile), who thinks there must surely be a wish tree. So off the duo sets. They help a friendly red squirrel gather hazelnuts, bring birch wood on Boggan for a beaver’s new lodge, and gather berries to help a fox fill her burrow. But the wish tree is nowhere to be found, and half the day is over. All this work and the darkening day make Charles tired, and he lies down on Boggan for a nap. When he wakes up, it’s late, and all the animals have gathered. Most significant of all, there’s the wish tree right in front of Charles, gleaming white. Charles writes his wish on a piece of paper and ties it around a branch. He and the forest animals enjoy a holiday feast before it’s time for Charles and Boggan to be on their way. Though textual repetition and onomatopoeia make this easy on the tongue, the whimsy of Maclear’s tale feels strained, and its lessons are murky. Turnham’s digital illustrations are well-composed, and Charles and Boggan are an appealing if unlikely pair.
Sweet in mood but incomplete in logic. (Picture book. 3-6)