I found Little Tree by Loren Long at the library. My girls love Long’s “Otis” books, so I brought this book for them to enjoy.
Little Tree is the story of a- wait for it- little tree. He is very happy to be amongst the other trees, and loves when the animals come around to play. The weather gets colder, and the other trees shed their leaves, but Little Tree is afraid. He clings to his leaves. As the seasons change, the other trees grow taller; Little Tree stays the same size, with his brown leaves. Will Little Tree ever drop his leaves?
The illustrations are bright and colorful. Long makes wonderful use of color, and it’s easy to tell which season it is based on the color of the leaves and by looking at the forest floor. The animals have been rendered in a realistic style. The animals are not anthropomorphic, so there is less of an emphasis on their facial expressions, but they do approach Little Tree with curiosity and concern.
This was a lovely little story. I loved the theme of “letting go” being a necessary part of moving on/growing up. Little Tree refuses to let go of his leaves, and so he is unable to grow. My girls were very concerned about Little Tree; “He’s so little,” they said. “Why doesn’t he grow like the other trees?”
I would absolutely recommend Little Tree. This book will appeal to preschoolers and children in the early years of elementary school. There is not as much action in Little Tree as there is in Long’s “Otis” books, and that’s okay. This is a thoughtful and introspective book, and my girls enjoyed reading it.