I have been waiting for this book since I first knew of its existence. I watched in envy as people with advanced copies tweeted and posted about its magic. I even preordered it from Amazon Prime, which is not something I do often with books. Katherine Applegate is a writing genius. Her books are amazing. The One and Only Ivan is a must read aloud every year for me. It is brilliant. For those of you who don’t know, it is about a gorilla who is in a shopping mall zoo and the trials and tribulations that come with it. It was the first book that I had a student so invested in the book that she broke down and cried at one part.
As I sit here on a chilly end of September morning wrapped in a blanket, I devour the whole book in one sitting. I wanted to slow down and savior its deliciousness, but my brain need to absorb every word and find out how/if the story worked out. Once I finished, I felt I should go to the gym, but I must write about this work of art. Beautiful. That is how I describe this book. Just beautiful. My favorite line of the whole story is, “I wanted to tell them that friendship doesn’t have to be hard. That sometimes we let the world make it hard.” I reread that line again and again. I find myself still mulling that line over.
This book is meant to be shared, talked about and lingered over. The central character is Red an oak tree. Red and the other animals help the reader to see a different perspective than we usually see. This book is about friendship, kindness of strangers, prejudice and so much more. This book takes us back to look forward.
I cannot wait to share this work of art with my students. They will love it!