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FICTION

The Belonging Tree

Holt. Aug. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250305138.
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PreS-Gr 3–Life has been pretty simple on Forest Lane. Squirrels live up in the tree and down in the tree, and the Gray squirrel family (Pa, Ma, and little Zeke) live in the middle. The neighborhood is just as it should be: Everyone helps each other out, spends time together, and eats together. Then the bluebirds come, and along with them, singing and noise. The Gray family does everything they can to to get rid of the bluebirds, and then the chipmunks arrive. They steal acorns and have a lot of crying babies. Winter arrives and Zeke is bored, though his parents are happier. With spring comes the beavers, and Pa and Ma are so frustrated, they move the family out. When Zeke gets stuck in a serendipitous storm, the potential tragedy shows the Gray family that the true meaning of being a neighbor is helping and caring for one other. With its very basic message of tolerance and inclusion, this friendly, accessible book will hit home with many readers. Beautiful watercolor illustrations bring the forest to life.
VERDICT With essential themes woven into a charming story, this is a recommended general purchase.

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