Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tess's Tree Book Review

Recently I had the opportunity to review the children's book Tess's Tree. I came across the book when I was researching educational game sites for children. It was written by Jess M. Brallier and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, two friends. Jess Brallier, a publisher and author, was inspired to write Tess's Tree by a friend's daughter and his own losses. He has written over two dozen books including Who was Albert Einstein and Presidential Wit and Wisdom: Maxims, Mottoes, Soundbites, Speeches, and Asides: Memorable Quotes From America's Presidents. Peter Reynolds is an illustrator (he illustrated the Judy Moody books), author (of The Dot and Ish), the owner of the Blue Bunny bookshop in Dedham Square, Massachusetts, and founder of Fablevision.

Do you know how it feels to have something you loved taken away? That is how Tess feels when her beloved tree is cut down after being damaged in a storm. She acts out, as those of us know who have little ones, by reacting like any other child. She lashes out with screaming, kicking, throwing her toys, and tears. Then, after shedding her tears, she decides to have a funeral to honor the life of her tree. To find out how special Tess's tree was to her and to others, you need to finish reading this lovely book.

It brought back how my sister and I used to climb the tree at my grandparents house. They used to watch us during the summers while my parents worked. The branches were low enough to the ground that we could climb it easily. We would be content to sit on the lower branches. Only once or twice was I ever adventurous enough to climb to the top. The tree sat outside my grandparent's kitchen window so if they wanted to check on us, all they had to do was peek outside the kitchen curtains. That tree still sits there.

Jess M. Brallier and Peter H. Reynolds talk about Tess's Tree on YouTube. Hear them talk about how the story came about and what the lesson is that we can all learn from this tale.

The book is beautifully illustrated. There is a clip of Peter Reynolds drawing Tess. In the clip he explains how he uses ink, watercolor, and whatever beverage he has handy to create his illustrations. He truly brought the words of Tess's story to life.

This book will resonate with any generation. We have all encountered loss at some point in our lives. Tess's coming to terms with the loss of her tree is inspiring and serves as a reminder that while saddened at our loss, life goes on. Our memories of what we have lost will remain as will the lessons we have learned. Your heart will feel full after reading this story.

You can read the online version at Funbrain or Fablevision. You can also purchase your own copy at your local bookstore or at an online bookseller such as Amazon. A literature guide (this appeals to the teacher in me) is also available for teachers who are interested in incorporating this story into their curriculum. Books can also be ordered from Peter Reynold's bookstore, The Blue Bunny and can be autographed by emailing Janet@dedhambluebunny.com with information about how you would like the book signed.

A special thank you to Jess M. Brallier, Peter H. Reynolds, and HarperCollinsPublishers for providing me with a copy of Tess's Tree for this review.

2 comments:

RUBY said...

Sounds like a very cute story thanks for sharing. I'm currently seeking books for my toddlers library. This sounds like it would be great to add.
BTW following from MBC

Rachel said...

A great book shared, thanks!

following you now!

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