The Happiness Tree: Celebrating the Gifts of Trees We Treasure
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Copyright Date: 2008
This celebration of one of Earth’s most precious resources embraces the beauty of trees and brings them to life with attributes sure to resonate with readers of all ages: peace, generosity, love, and happiness. With a detailed index of state trees, THE HAPPINESS TREE is a welcome reminder that everything good begins right here.
Grade 1–4—Much surface and little substance mark this collaboration from Gosline and Bossi—but oh, what a beautiful surface it is. As the rhyming text extols the virtues of trees and describes the planting and growth of a group of seeds, the jewel-toned illustrations of the natural world immediately draw the eye. The elevated language tends more to poetry than sense: “Warm wishes sowed the greening land/and flocking birds rejoiced the stand/and sang a story that uplifts,/the tale of ten trees’ simple gifts.” The text then introduces these trees, each chosen to represent a particular characteristic (seemingly at random, for the afterword describing the various species gives no hint as to why they were assigned their titles). The blue spruce represents tolerance, the yellow poplar stands for love, and so on. A listing of state trees is appended. With a slightly New Agey premise, this handsomely illustrated book is more inspirational than educational and may find a home in Arbor Day celebrations and in Sunday school classrooms.
Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
School Library Journal
“Beautiful…the jewel-toned illustrations of the natural world immediately draw the eye….handsomely illustrated.”
School Library Journal
“… this is a book that sings! The rhyming text is unique and musical and the illos are vibrant and melodious. This is not your average picture book. In it trees are associated with individual great virtues. I can totally relate to the Magnolia tree as the embodiment of generosity, or the 100 foot tall White Pine as the image of courage. The Dogwood beautifully holds sway as the emissary of Peace. In all, ten trees join together to make this one absolutely stunning and endearing book for young and gifted children. … It’s my understanding that each of us should plant at least 10 trees to replace the oxygen we will breath in one lifetime. With this book we can also plant some quality ideas and images in the minds of the children we love.”
The Gifted and Talented Child Blog