Everybody’s Tree

Sleeping Bear. Aug. 2020. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781534110588.
K-Gr 2–A young white boy plants an evergreen, tends it carefully as he grows up, and then his children and grandchildren all play around the same tree. Eventually, their giant tree is chosen as the focal point of a unnamed city’s Christmas celebration. The point of view that opens the book is that of a young sapling dreaming of greatness. It then switches to the boy who plants the tree, and then shifts again to a first-person plural for the trio scouting the tree for the city’s Christmas celebration. Instead of these transitions serving the idea of one family’s tree becoming “everybody’s tree,” they are jarring. Aside from that, Joosse’s text flows well. Her lines have an elegant rhythm and rhyme, while the story zips and zings with fun onomatopoeia. Graef’s colored pencil illustrations are soft and welcoming. A variety of viewpoints nicely convey the scope and size of the tree and the celebration in a bustling, lively city. The characters throughout are a diverse group, engaged in sharing and in community-building activities, emphasizing the holiday as a time of togetherness. All the couples depicted are heteronormative.
VERDICT While not necessarily a tree for everybody, this book is a charming Christmas read-aloud for those who celebrate.

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