A book review by Bakersville Little Free Library Steward Roby Summerfield
AUTHOR: Katherine Applegate
Filled with funny dialogue, “Wishtree” brings a new perspective to the table.
One day, Samar and her family move into a new neighborhood, home to the huge and towering wishtree, named Red. Samar feels like an outcast; different and alone. Every night, Samar comes out of her new house to sit under Red in the moonlight, gazing up at the big oak tree. Unlike the others, Samar only wishes for one thing: a friend.
The first of May brings Wishing Day, where people travel from all over to write a wish down on a piece of cloth and tie it to Red. When nightfall comes, and the annual celebration is over, Red barely even looks like a tree, rather more like a tall structure slicing through the sky with all different colors of ribbons, mismatched clothes and maybe even a sock or two.
Together with Red, Bongo and the family of animals that nest in the hollow plot a way to help Samar meet her neighbor, Stephen. The animals root for Samar throughout the tough times, when angry men drive by her house yelling “Muslims, get out!” or when someone carves the word, “LEAVE” into Red, on the side that faces Samar’s tiny blue house.
As locals investigate the carving, Samar and Stephen begin to form a close relationship, despite their differences, with a little help from everyone in the natural world.
Wishtree tells the paralleling stories of the natural and human world by combining them with humor and heartfelt, real-life experiences. Author Katherine Applegate continues to express kindness and compassion in her unique writing style that tackles subjects such as the importance of acceptance in a way that isn’t overwhelming to the reader. I found this so refreshing. If we work as one, we can promote acceptance and change. Whether one is 6 or 106, this book will leave one rooting for Samar, and as Red says, “You’re never too old to be surprised.”
This book can be checked out at the Bakersville Little Free Library, located in front of the Bakersville Fire Department.