In this beautifully written book by the masterful Katherine Applegate, we find a story that can teach us all something about community, friendship, acceptance, and family. The story is told from a rather unexpected point of view…that of a tree. Red is a pillar of the community, an oak tree that has watched families move in and out for more than 200 years, many of them immigrants just like Samar’s family.
However, Red is much more than just a simple tree. Red is a wishtree. Every year, community residents come to Red with the deepest desires of their hearts. They write a wish on a simple ribbon or scrap of fabric and tie it to Red. And sometimes…those wishes come true. Can Red make Samar’s wish come true after the rude introduction to the neighborhood that the family has already received? Red hopes to, but it seems that the message left for Samar’s family has put Red in very serious danger. While Red works to make Samar’s wish come true, an army of animal friends come to Red’s assistance.
This book strikes a perfect balance on so many levels. It tackles a serious topic, but does so while also making readers smile, giggle, or, at times, laugh out loud. It is a thoughtful book, giving even teenage students plenty to think about, but the book’s short chapters and cute, comical characters will make Wishtree a fun read (or read-aloud) for elementary students.