Author and Illustrator: Loren Long
Expected Publication: October 27th, 2015 by Philomel Books
Goodreads Summary: In the middle of a little forest, there lives a Little Tree who loves his life and the splendid leaves that keep him cool in the heat of long summer days. Life is perfect just the way it is.
Autumn arrives, and with it the cool winds that ruffle Little Tree’s leaves. One by one the other trees drop their leaves, facing the cold of winter head on. But not Little Tree—he hugs his leaves as tightly as he can. Year after year Little Tree remains unchanged, despite words of encouragement from a squirrel, a fawn, and a fox, his leaves having long since turned brown and withered. As Little Tree sits in the shadow of the other trees, now grown sturdy and tall as though to touch the sun, he remembers when they were all the same size. And he knows he has an important decision to make. From #1 New York Times bestselling Loren Long comes a gorgeously-illustrated story that challenges each of us to have the courage to let go and to reach for the sun.
Kellee’s Review: Loren Long’s books, Otis and The Little Engine That Could, are household names, and I believe Little Tree will find its home along side these books. Little Tree is a sweet, little story at the surface, but it is really very deep. The story can be read as a story at bedtime to talk about nature or as a starting point for a discussion about growing up and/or making hard choices. The illustrations are beautiful yet simple, so that the readers eyes are drawn into Little Tree and its friends.
Ricki’s Review: This book represents everything I love in literature. From the moment I cracked the cover, I was whisked into the quiet story, and I felt a bit of a rush as I turned each page. The publishers graciously sent me a print from the book, which I plan to hang in my son’s bedroom. My advisor has the print resting behind her desk in the office. Kellee accurately described this book. While it seems simple, there are so many ways this texts could be used to promote quality conversations in the classroom. This would be my mentor text to teach personification.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Little Tree will be a read aloud favorite for many teachers and students, but it can also be used to promote great discussions. At the surface, the book is a great jumping off point to talk about the seasons and nature and how nature changes throughout the seasons and would be a great companion to nonfiction books about the seasons. If you want to go a bit deeper, there is definitely a message in Little Tree about letting go, growing up, and making choices that may not be easy.
Discussion Questions: Why did Little Tree not want to let go of its leaves?; What happened as a result of not letting go of its leaves?; What does the author want you to think about after reading Little Tree’s story?
Read This If You Loved: The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper and Loren Long, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, Frozen Wild by Jim Arnosky, Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt, and other nonfiction texts about seasons
**Thank you to Penguin for providing copies for review!**