Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Tale of Three Trees

The Tale of Three Trees is a traditional folktale. This hardcover version is retold by Angela Elwell Hunt and illustrated by Tim Jonke. The text is clear, perfect for young readers. The illustrations are dark, but meaningful. They are full of detail often using silhouettes and great contrast.

The story begins with three little trees growing on a mountaintop. Each has a dream. The first wants to be beautiful and hold marvelous treasures. The second hopes to be the strongest ship carrying kings across the seas. The third never wants to be cut down. She dreams only to grow tall and point people to heaven.

The years pass and the three trees grow tall and strong. Three lumberjacks come and cut them down. The first two are initially excited, but then disappointed as they are turned into less than they had hoped. The first is built into a feed box for animals. The second a small fishing boat. The third tree is simply cut into planks and left in a pile. They're dreams are all but forgotten until one night a young mother lays her newborn baby in the manger. That tree knows he hold the greatest treasure of all. Then the small fishing boat watches a weary traveler calm the stormy sea. He knows he holds the King of heaven and earth. Finally, the third tree is taken from the pile to form a cross. She feels ugly and ashamed when a man's hands and feet are nailed to her. But when the earth trembled on the third day, she knew "God's love had changed everything. It had made the first tree beautiful ... the second tree strong ... And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God."

What I Like: This tale is wonderful at Christmas, Easter and all year long! I love the simple story. It reminds us that God always gives us our desires, but sometimes they materialize in ways drastically different than we imagined.

What I Dislike: My kids are bored by the pictures. The illustrations are beautiful, but not for this age range. They're a little too dark and show very little action.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: Baby - Preschool (according to Amazon), but I would say 3 and above

Publisher Info: Cook Communications, 2004; ISBN: 0745917437; Hardback; $12.99

Buy it Now at Amazon for $10.39

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