Our Tree Named Steve

Our Tree Named Steve

3.7 4
by Alan Zweibel, David Catrow
     
 

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Dear Kids,
A long time ago, when you were little, Mom and I took you to where we wanted to build a house . . . . I remember there was one tree, however, that the three of you couldn't stop staring at . . . .

After the family spares him from the builders, Steve the tree quickly works his way into their lives. He holds their underwear when the dryerSee more details below

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Overview

Dear Kids,
A long time ago, when you were little, Mom and I took you to where we wanted to build a house . . . . I remember there was one tree, however, that the three of you couldn't stop staring at . . . .

After the family spares him from the builders, Steve the tree quickly works his way into their lives. He holds their underwear when the dryer breaks down, he's there when Adam and Lindsay get their first crushes, he's the centerpiece at their outdoor family parties. With a surprising lack of anthropomorphizing, this is a uniquely poignant celebration of fatherhood, families, love, and change.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zweibel's first book for children serves as the chronicle of a family's beloved leafy cornerstone, told in flashback by a father to his children. From the moment they first saw the lot where their house would be built, Adam, Lindsay, Sari and their dog, Kirby, were infatuated with a mammoth tree on the property. Two-year-old Sari pronounced the word "tree" as "Steve," and the name stuck. Saved from clearing, Steve became "a swing holder, target, third base, hiding place," as well as a backdrop for campouts, parties and play dates, and a provider of shade and beauty. But while the kids vacationed at Grandma's, a particularly strong storm toppled Steve, and Dad drafted a letter-this story-to prepare them before their return. TV and stage writer Zweibel fills his epistolary text with heartfelt emotion without overdoing it. His universal and realistic scenarios and characters are sure to strike a chord with a cadre of readers. Catrow's (I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!, reviewed above) watercolor-and-pencil compositions capture the enormous, comforting Steve in the glory of each season and depict a young, sprightly family appreciative of, and connected to, a natural treasure. His humorous images of a dog dragging underwear off the clothesline or Uncle Chester bursting out of a hammock make the sorrowful images of the bare trunk all the more poignant. Ages 4-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-When a storm fells a favorite tree, Dad writes a letter to his children, who are visiting their grandparents, to tell them the bad news. He reminds them of the day the family surveyed the piece of land where their new home would be built. Trees had to be cleared, but this giant, dubbed "Steve" by the youngest who couldn't pronounce "tree," was spared. Through the years, Steve became the family swing, third base, laundry line, campground, and even a first love's trysting place. The pencil-and-watercolor cartoons feature Catrow's familiar round-faced children and their comical dog. They extend the spare text with many visual jokes. A cheery palette gives way to dark magenta and blue when the tree dies, a melancholy dog sprawled across its stump. Zweibel attempts to give the story a hopeful twist at the end, but, overall, it is a bittersweet and genuinely sad slice of life.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a letter to his three children who are visiting their grandparents, a father recalls all the wonderful things Steve the tree has been to their family. When they visited the empty lot where they would build their house, Sari, the youngest, couldn't say tree, so she said "Steve." Thus, a family friend was dubbed. He was perfect for shade and hanging laundry when the dryer broke. He even held a hammock for fat Uncle Chester and drank all the sewer water when the sump backed up. Being a tree has its dangers, and a storm knocked Steve down. Friend to the last, Steve didn't fall on the house, doghouse, swing set or garden. Dad's writing to warn the kids that Steve won't greet them when they return, but his lumber has made a wonderful new playhouse. Zweibel and Catrow have created a faultless piece of bibliotherapy for children working through loss. Catrow's usual bright, wide-eyed, exuberant watercolors bring individuality and immediacy to Zweibel's simple text. Steve's almost-face shines in each illustration of this sentimental tribute. (Picture book. 4-7)
From the Publisher
In a letter to his three children who are visiting their grandparents, a father recalls all the wonderful things Steve the tree has been to their family. When they visited the empty lot where they would build their house, Sari, the youngest, couldn't say tree, so she said "Steve." Thus, a family friend was dubbed. He was perfect for shade and hanging laundry when the dryer broke. He even held a hammock for fat Uncle Chester and drank all the sewer water when the sump backed up. Being a tree has its dangers, and a storm knocked Steve down. Friend to the last, Steve didn't fall on the house, doghouse, swing set or garden. Dad's writing to warn the kids that Steve won't greet them when they return, but his lumber has made a wonderful new playhouse. Zweibel and Catrow have created a faultless piece of bibliotherapy for children working through loss. Catrow's usual bright, wide-eyed, exuberant watercolors bring individuality and immediacy to Zweibel's simple text. Steve's almost-face shines in each illustration of this sentimental tribute.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142407431
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/15/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
109,078
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.15(d)
Lexile:
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Zweibel and Catrow have created a faultless piece of bibliotherapy for children working through loss. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

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