A city girl falls in love with a tree and marvels at its wonders.
Susanne looks forward to vacations at her grandparents’ house in the country. On a walk in the forest with her grandmother, Susanne discovers her “big, beautiful tree,” like something out of a fairy tale. Every day, she visits her tree and notices something miraculous and new: the view from the topmost branches, the sound of the wind through the leaves, a family of owls, insects that march along the truck. As she delights in each discovery, leaf-shaped callout boxes in page corners encourage readers to discuss, explore, and interact. (Some boxes present facts, but no sources are cited.) Even when she returns to the city, Susanne thinks often of her beloved tree. The stylized illustrations use a variety of perspectives—close up, bird’s eye, profile—to create a page-turning dynamic as action drives readers from left to right. Solid colors and patterns of the modern world contrast with translucent, tissue-paper–like leaves, placing the emphasis firmly on the natural world. Like the illustrations, Susanne’s detailed first-person narration is tree-centered, leaving little room for character development. Originally published in France, the lyrical text is not always served well by the translation, most notable in the awkward toggling between past and present tenses. All characters appear white.
An interactive, modern-day The Giving Tree without the creepy self-sacrifice. (Picture book. 4-8)