Title: The Idea Tree
Author: Mary E. Fam
Year published: 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Number of pages: 42
Recommended age: 3+
Son Rating: ★★★★★
Mom Rating: ★★★★½
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary (Amazon): This is the fantastical tale of the origin of “Fall” (Autumn) as the product of a single idea. The story resonates messages of confidence, courage, anti-bullying concepts and the encouragement to go forward with a “good idea”. Vivid images and dazzling colours merge these ideas together and deliver an important and lasting culmination – Don’t be afraid to be different or to change! Know that the most significant changes can happen with just one good idea”.
What I liked and disliked about it: The little tree had a very good idea. His idea was to turn his leaves different colours like red, yellow, and green. He also made all his leaves fall down. All of the trees in the forest copied him. I wonder how trees decide to change the colour of their leaves or make their leaves fall down whenever they want. My Mom explained to me that it’s not the tree deciding but it’s because of nature. [Apparently Mom is a realist!]
I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved (5 times) the photos in the book because they were pretty. My favorite picture was the last one where there are all different coloured leaves, but I didn’t like that there was fake green in it too. They could have used real green leaves for the picture.
My bottom line: This book was one of the best books that I’ve ever read. I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved it. I would recommend this book to everybody. I would like to give it 600 million stars.
What I liked and disliked: Mary Fam has created a beautifully illustrated whimsical tale touching upon the themes of leadership, courage, and self-confidence that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The story is narrated by a brave tree that ponders what it would be like if he could change one of his leaves to yellow. He contemplates how his fellow trees may laugh at him for trying something different, but he’s surprised to discover that, quite opposite to what he thought, his friends follow his lead and go on to change their leaf colour right along with him.
Fam spins a magical tale of the origin of fall so well that even my young son believed in the possibility that fall came into being because one little tree decided to change the colour of his leaves. The story itself is so delightful as we get a glimpse of the tree’s thought processes including the doubts he has as he ponders what to try next. I love how Fam manages to make each season of the tree’s annual cycle so beautiful and lyrical, even when the tree sheds its leaves for the winter. We all thoroughly enjoyed the story.
I have mixed feelings about the real-life photographs used to illustrate the story. Most of the photographs are absolutely stunning. My favorite is one of the camera pointing up toward the tops of white-barked birch trees peppered with golden yellow leaves contrasting with a bright blue sky as the background. It is so beautiful and it reminds me of the birch trees in Manitoba where I grew up.
What I was left unsure about was the use of special effects such as contrast, tinting, and the adding of colour in some of the photographs to create a specific colour or feel to a photograph. There are so many photographs of forests of red trees (maples for example?) so I don’t feel it was necessary to manipulate or edit a photo to create a forest of red trees. Regardless, the brightly coloured photographs were well-received by the kids. Apparently, I’m more of a traditionalist, but I can appreciate the photographs as an art form. They are beautiful.
My bottom line: There is something simply magical about this book. My son, my daughter, and I all really, really enjoyed it for the wonderful story and the beautiful photographs. I would highly recommend this book as one that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
The Idea Tree was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review.
I shared this post at the Cozy Book Hop hosted by The Reading List.
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Where to Buy?
Available as a 99¢ Kindle e-book.