Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree
Author: Sandy Shapiro Hurt
Illustrator: Xindi Yan
Published Tilbury House Publishers

Summary: This very strange tale began in May.

in a friendly forest on a sunny day

Skipping along a path in the wood

danced Sylvia Rose, and man, she was GOOD!

Laughing and leaping came Sylvia Rose,

Whirling and twirling on twinkly toes.

Bold, adventurous Sylvia Rose loves visiting the animals and trees of the forest. The girl and her favorite cherry tree share almost everything, including dancing and stories, but they can’t travel the world together because the tree is rooted deep in the earth. Determined to overcome this obstacle, Sylvia Rose enlists her animal friends to uproot the glorious tree, and Sylvia and the tree set off globetrotting together, taking in the wonders of the world from the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House, each sight more amazing than the last.

Back home in the forest, however, the animals begin to suffer without the food and shelter of their life-sustaining cherry tree. Can the tree give up her newfound freedom and return to her role in the forest ecosystem?

ReviewThis was such a fun book to read aloud! The rhyming and rhythm make it so sing-songy which always makes a book a pleasure to read aloud. Hurt was very smart with her rhymes and none of them seemed forced. She also kept a very specific rhythm throughout the book which made everything seem clean. I also was immediately taken by the artwork. Yan’s vibrant colors and exuberant characters really pull everything together, and as the reader I could not help but smile as Sylvia and the Cherry Tree go on their adventures. While reading, I was immediately excited for this book to make its way to classrooms, and I cannot wait to share it with my friend that teaches 2nd grade.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree is a perfect mentor text for the introduction of rhyming and rhyme scheme because of the clear rhyming and easy pattern. Students could write their own story of one of the animals in the story using the rhyme scheme and rhythm of the book.

Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree also is a good story to use when talking about big ideas including priorities, fun vs. responsibilities, and homesickness. This discussion could also grow into one about theme.

Finally, cross curricularly the story could be used to look at habitats. The animals that live in the forest suffer when the Cherry Tree leaves because their home is no longer there. This conversation could also include why removing forests is detrimental to the wildlife in the area.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Why is the tree and all the animals immediately drawn to Sylvia Rose?
  • Why does the tree want to go on adventures?
  • What are some effects of the tree’s decision to go with Sylvia Rose?
  • Using clues in the illustration, where did Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree go visit?
  • Do you agree with the decision that the tree made in the end? Why or why not?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon

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