Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

3 stars

Wishtree cover (link to Goodreads)

After reading The One and Only Ivan and reading glowing reviews of this one, I couldn’t wait for the hold to come in. But I just didn’t like it very much, though there were things about it I really liked. The story was told from the perspective of an old tree that people hang wishes on each year. The tree becomes the canvas for a hateful message to a Muslim family that has moved into the neighborhood, and meanwhile, the owner of the property the tree stands on has decided to cut it down. The voice is dreamy and, I guess, tree-like, but mostly I found it irritating. It may have been a me thing. And the message was too overt for my tastes, though it was one I agreed with. Short and sweet, if you’re interested.

Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

5 stars

The One and Only Ivan cover (link to Goodreads)

This would be such a great book to read aloud to younger kids (I’m thinking 5-7 years old). It follows a silverback gorilla in a seedy animal show off the highway. He understands human speech and loves to make art but can’t communicate. His friends are a stray dog, an old, wise elephant who does tricks for the show, and a little girl whose dad works as a janitor there. One day, the show acquires a baby elephant, and the old elephant makes Ivan promise to help the baby elephant have a better life than she had. Ivan begins to remember more about his history and begins to do something extraordinary. Heartwarming, sad, joyous. I loved the audiobook narrator as well, if that interests you.