This Tree Is Just For Me! / The Longest Storm

This Tree Is Just For Me!
Lucy Rowland and Laura Hughes
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

It’s impossible for Jack to find a quiet place in which to settle down with his brand new book in the garden so he decides to search for a tree of his very own. Having discovered the perfect one and made the titular declaration, up the boy climbs and begins to read. Before long though the branches start to shake heralding the arrival of tiger wanting a chat. Jack politely explains and sends the big cat on its way.
However said tiger is only the first of a series of visitors to the tree: an alligator, a snake, a couple of monkeys, a sloth and others follow in quick succession until one wonders how Jack’s chosen tree can possibly stand all that weight.

Enough is enough decides the boy now shouting the title sentence and discombobulating the visitors, all of which hastily descend. Peace at last.
Jack finishes his book

but then a realisation dawns …

I love this story that celebrates the joy of reading, be it solo or with others. Far-fetched as it is, Lucy’s rhyming text is a terrific read aloud that really works and Laura’s scenes of that idyllic reading location and its visitors – human and otherwise – are hugely expressive and highly amusing.

The Longest Storm
Dan Yaccarino

‘A storm came to our town. It was unlike any storm we’d ever seen. No one knew how long it would last. We would have to stay inside maybe for a long while.’ So begins this story wherein three children, a Dad and a dog find themselves stuck inside with not enough to do and too much time to fill. Inevitably things start to deteriorate: frustration , boredom and anger become the norm and eventually Dad loses his temper completely.

Everyone goes their own way until one night comes a huge flash of lightning that shakes the house. This causes them to come back together. Apologies ensue and come the morning something has changed. The storm still rages outside but little by little things within improve and eventually the storm abates, the sun appears

and the task of rebuilding begins.

They’ve all undergone an emotional upheaval like no other and one suspects that Yaccarino’s story is a metaphor of the pandemic lockdowns we’ve all endured in the past couple of years. It will definitely resonate with families and offers a useful starting point to open discussions either at home or in the classroom as we start to emerge from our restricted lifestyles once more.

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