In 216 rings, Red has seen a lot. As the neighborhood wishtree, Red has been home to families of racoons, skunks, opossums, owls, squirrels, and crows, hidden treasures, and secret wishes whispered and written. In all that time, most of the things Red has lived through have been good, hopeful things.
It’s an open secret in nature that trees (and animals) can talk. They just don’t usually talk to humans. Mostly, they’re not supposed too. But when a new family with a young daughter named Samar moves into Red’s neighborhood, things start to change. Red watches as Samar comes outside each night, alone and in her pajamas, and sits beneath the shelter of the leaves each evening so quietly the baby animals that call the oak’s hollows home come out to sit with her. Red watches Samar and Stephen, the neighbor boy, watch each other wistfully, but never exchange more than a few words. Red watches as Stephen’s parents keep him on their side of the fence. And Red watches as Samar ties her wish to a branch – a wish for a friend.
And then one morning an ugly word is carved into Red’s bark – the word ‘Leave.’ And Red knows it’s time to stop watching and start talking.
Oh, this book. All the stars! Newbery Award-winning author Katherine Applegate has crafted another timeless tale sure to make you hug it to your chest when you’ve finished it. Spare, simple, sweet, and true, Wishtree is a gentle fable that demonstrates the power of kindness, community, and connection. I absolutely loved it, and you will too!