Knowing my love for her other book, The One and Only Ivan, my wife picked this up for me at a recent trip to the thrift store. The concept behind it sounded cute enough: what if a tree, as well as all the creatures that live in and around it, could (secretly) talk? And I’m sure, had I read this as a kid, I would’ve found it a charming and funny read, what with all the dad jokes and weird naming-conventions for the different creatures. As an adult, however, it tended to grate and leave me wanting more of the humans’ story instead.
That being said, I should’ve been careful what I wished (pun intended) for, because the humans’ story disappointed in the end as well, just sorta resolving itself as if by magic, with a character having a sudden, out-of-character about face in the very last minute, and a particularly improbable turn of events helping matters along.
Look, I’m all for the message behind the book, which is one of tolerance. I just think the frame-story of the tree and his animal friends was a little weak, and more time could’ve been spent on the people who are the ones actually needing to grow and learn. Maybe then we wouldn’t have such a rushed ending? I don’t know. I know I’m way in the minority on this one, based on the reviews I’ve seen, but what can I say? I had high hopes and it didn’t match them. As I said earlier, though, this’d probably be a certain hit for its target age demographic, so I can’t be too harsh.