Wishtree
by Applegate, Katherine; Santoso, Charles (ILT)






An old red oak tree tells how he and his crow friend, Bongo, help their human neighbors get along after a threat against an immigrant family is carved into the tree's trunk.





Katherine Applegate is the author of The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novel Crenshaw, spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times children's bestseller list, and her first middle-grade stand-alone novel, Home of the Brave continues to be included on state reading lists, summer reading lists, and class reading lists. Katherine Applegate lives in Tiburon, California, with her family.





*Starred Review* Just a tree, huh? Beloved author and Newbery winner Applegate returns with a moving tale starring, of all things, an oak tree. Red has stood her ground for more than a century, watching over the houses in her neighborhood and befriending the animals that call her hollows home. Each May, her branches are strung with wishes, a tradition stemming from an Irish immigrant who once lived on the property. Red sees all, including an act of hate-the word leave scrawled into her trunk, aimed at new renters, a Muslim family. After so many years of keeping quiet, Red and the animals take action, aiming to connect Samar, a young Muslim girl, with her neighbor Stephen. Meanwhile, Red's owner considers cutting her down. Short chapters and a slim word count widen the audience of this beautiful tale. In less capable hands, the subject matter could come across as moralizing, but by introducing a charming cast of critters-opossums, birds, squirrels, and so on-Applegate adds levity, humor, and balance. Though the story's happy ending is predictable, not all is wrapped in a tidy bow. Hate and prejudice still exist in Samar and Stephen's world, as in our own. Timely, necessary, and brimming with heart. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.





Generations of human and animal families grow and change, seen from the point of view of the red oak Wishing Tree that shelters them all. Most trees are introverts at heart. So says Red, who is over 200 years old and should know. Not to mention that they have complicated relationships with humans. But this tree also has perspective on its animal friends and people who live within its purview—not just witnessing, but ultimately telling the tales of young people coming to this country alone or with family. An Irish woman named Maeve is the first, and a young 10-year-old Muslim girl named Samar is the most recent. Red becomes the repository for generations of wishes; this includes both observing Samar's longing wish and sporting the hurtful word that another young person carves into their bark as a protest to Samar's family's presence. (Red is monoecious, they explain, with both male and female flowers.) Newbery medalist Applegate succeeds at interweaving an immigrant stor y with an animated natural world and having it all make sense. As Red observes, animals compete for resources just as humans do, and nature is not always pretty or fair or kind. This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students. A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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