“Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy.” This love was unconditional, without judgement, and continuously given. The tree gave all that she had for the boy—her leaves, her branches, her trunk. Even as a mere stump, she kept on giving.

The simplicity of text and illustration turns your mind to the moral of this tale, and bear in mind that our reading and yours can be completely different. This book can be interpreted in many different ways. Sure, the boy needs to learn some charity. It might be nice if he showed a little gratitude. Grew some trees instead of draining the one he has of its resources. But I want to focus on the tree alone. While I’m incapable of having her complete selflessness right now, I can start small, give where I can … “We give service when we don’t criticize, when we refuse to gossip, when we don’t judge, when we smile, when we say thank you, and when we are patient and kind.” —Cheryl A. Esplin.


  • Published by HarperCollins
  • 6-10 years
  • 4