Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tess's Tree by Jess M. Brallier and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Tess's Tree by Jess M. Brallier and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds is another book that is new to the curriculum lab. It is geared towards younger readers. I liked this book, but I wouldn't go as far to say I loved it.
Tess is a little girl who has grown up loving a big tree that is in her yard. One day, the tree loses some branches in a storm. This leads her mother to deem it a safety hazard, so the tree had to go. Tess is very upset, and she decides to hold a funeral for her tree. She invites many neighbors to come, and there are some surprise guests. I found this a little far fetched, but it was a cute aspect of the story. The story was touching at parts, but it was missing excitement. I guess I was looking for a little more, but I think young children would appreciate this book much more than I would simply because of the content. Also, this book would be one that inexperienced readers could read without too much difficulty. One element I really liked about the story was the way she prepared for the trees funeral. Tess dressed up the tree's "children" (small trees/plants) in ribbon for the ceremony, set up chairs, placed flowers on the stump, and invited many guests. It was a nice way to show she cared and set up the plot.
The pictures in this book were done very well. There was a lot of white space, but it was used effectively. It made the pictures stand out. Also, there were often multiple pictures per page that had text that went along with them. To demonstrate the storm, the illustration took up two pages and was darker. Small design elements really made this illustrations pop.
I would recommend this book to others, especially individuals looking for books that young children can read themselves. Although it wasn't my favorite new book, I enjoyed it because it was unique and that was refreshing.

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