by Katherine Applegate
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You know I like to follow certain people on Twitter who will tell me what to read, and so far, I’ve done my best to keep up with the notable books published during 2017. I started hearing about Wishtree back in February, but I didn’t preorder it, despite all of the hype around it. I figured I’d get around to it before Newbery season came around, and when I discovered it in my Overdrive account, I jumped on it.
Wishtree is told from the perspective of a red oak named Red. She is about 217 years old, and she has watched a neighborhood grow, along with the neighbors, both human and critter. Red has many critter friends, including a crow named Bongo and families of opossums, raccoons, skunks, and owls. She is visited by people once a year on wishing day when they tie their wish to her somehow. Red is a kind and gentle soul and decides to meddle with humankind when a little Muslim girl named Samar wishes for a friend, and a non-Muslim boy lives next door. His parents aren’t comfortable with Samar’s family, and someone carves “leave” in Red’s trunk and eggs the yard. Red’s meddling causes an exciting wishing day and leaves the reader with a powerful message.
What I liked about this book was the message and influence it can have over students who read it. I usually have at least one Muslim student each year, and while students are friendly and kind with these friends, they don’t necessarily know about what is going on in the world. I appreciate that Applegate shows the ignorance of strangers, and we as the reader are forced to have feelings about it, which leads to understanding and compassion towards others. I have never asked my Muslim students if they’ve had people treat them cruelly, but I know the potential is out there, especially in the world we live in today.
What I didn’t like about this book is I feel like with many of Applegate’s books, there is a huge climax that is rushed. I had one of those moments where I put my hand over my mouth from feeling the feelings, but then it quickly went away and the story was over. There was potential for more story and more background, but she kept it simple. Short and sweet, I suppose.
Book 11 of 40