Sunday, May 3, 2020

Review - It's MY Tree

It's MY Tree
by Olivier Tallec
Date: 2020
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A squirrel decides to keep everyone in the forest away from a favorite tree (It's MY tree?), but hasn't thought the plan all the way through!

The squirrel loves a particular tree (It's MY tree?) and is happiest eating pine cones in its shade (MY pine cones in the shade of MY tree?). But then the squirrel starts to worry. What if someone else decides it's THEIR tree? What if that someone wants to eat THEIR pine cones in the shade of THEIR tree? Should the squirrel build a gate in front of the tree to keep the others out? Or maybe a wall? Yes, a wall. The squirrel will build a long and high wall that no one can get over or around. Only, now that there's a wall, how can the squirrel know what's on the other side of it? Maybe a better tree is out there, full of pine cones. Maybe even a whole forest of better trees ...

World-renowned author-illustrator Olivier Tallec has created a simple, funny, relevant fable for the modern age. The humor and exaggeration ensure that even the youngest children will recognize the greed, xenophobia and fear of missing out afflicting the poor squirrel. With tones of bright orange and yellow, the captivating illustrations bring the enormous-tailed squirrel's rapid-fire range of emotions to vivid and hilarious life. This highly entertaining read-aloud would also make a perfect conversation starter for lessons on the importance of appreciating what one has.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'd recommend taking a look at this one just for the illustrations. That squirrel is hilarious. As for the story... it lost me.

This squirrel has a tree and pinecones... and a bunch of worries. What if someone decides his tree is their tree? Maybe he should build a wall to keep others away. But... what if there's an even better tree with better pinecones on the other side of that wall?

I was with the story up until the end. I hoped that there would be some sort of lesson for the squirrel, but there doesn't seem to be (unless kids are supposed to read between the lines and deduce their own resolution and message). When the greedy squirrel climbs his wall to see what he's missing out on, he sees a forest full of worried-looking squirrels just like him and... that's the last page. So, did he learn anything? Or is he just going to start fights with every squirrel who dares to cross his path?

While the story might not have been for me, I'm kind of in love with the illustrations. The goofy, petrified-looking squirrel is a great main character, and I loved seeing his different facial expressions. The pictures are done in a fairly limited palette that incorporates a lot of oranges and yellows. The illustrations definitely work.

It's too bad I can't say the same for the story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.83 out of 5

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