Tess's Tree

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Overview

Tess loved her tree.
She liked to swing on it and sit in its shade and catch its leaves in the fall.

When Tess's tree has to come down, Tess is very sad . . . until she finds a way to gather friends and family and celebrate her tree's remarkable life.

This is a book for sharing with people you love, among good friends, or on a quiet day under a favorite tree.

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Overview

Tess loved her tree.
She liked to swing on it and sit in its shade and catch its leaves in the fall.

When Tess's tree has to come down, Tess is very sad . . . until she finds a way to gather friends and family and celebrate her tree's remarkable life.

This is a book for sharing with people you love, among good friends, or on a quiet day under a favorite tree.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
When I was college-aged, I happened to be home the day a big truck arrived to take down the two perfectly healthy trees in front of my parents' home. They did not want to deal with the raking of the leaves anymore and thought that chopping down the trees would knock one more chore off their long list of many. I threw a fit. I surprised myself by how deeply emotional I was about the whole episode; the tree people cautiously backed off the porch and said they would check back later. And so it was with great empathy that I read of Tess's deep sorrow when her favorite tree had to be cut down because it was very old and no longer thriving. Tess is utterly despondent, until she decides the best thing to do would be to have a funeral for it. After issuing invitations to friends and neighbors to "Celebrate the life of Tess's tree," many people in the tree's past arrive at the appointed time. The guests contribute to the ceremony by talking about their own fond memories of the tree, including a couple who once carved their names inside of a heart on the tree's trunk. This meaningful ceremony provides much needed closure for Tess and helps her understand just how important the tree was to so many people besides herself. This book would make a great read aloud addition to any primary grade study of trees and can inspire children to write or draw about all that their own favorite tree offers. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
Publishers Weekly
Originally published on FunBrain.com, Brallier's understated, resonant debut tells of a nine-year-old who loves to play beneath the 175-year-old tree in her yard. After a storm weakens the tree, Tess's mother, worried it “could fall and hurt someone,” has it taken down. Initially angry and sad, Tess decides she “couldn't just let it quietly go away” and organizes a celebration of her beloved tree's life (she ties ribbons on a pair of saplings nearby, helping “the children of her tree dress up for the service”). Tess's teacher reads a passage from Robert Louis Stevenson's “The Swing,” and among the many attendees are three people who share Tess's deep affection for the tree—a couple who carved their initials into its bark years earlier, and an elderly woman who climbed its branches as a child (she brings a photograph of herself in the tree to give Tess). Reynolds's (The Dot) spare, emotive illustrations illuminate the story's messages about cycles of life and the importance of mourning. Particularly affecting is a final image of Tess and the grandmotherly woman standing hand-in-hand beside the saplings. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Tess loves the tree in her backyard. She would "swing from her tree, play in its leaves, and camp out under it." After being damaged in a storm, the 175-year-old tree must be cut down, and Tess initially reacts with anger and sadness. Upon reflection, she is moved to organize a funeral. Those paying respect at the "Celebrate the Life of Tess's Tree" memorial include a married couple who once carved their names inside a heart on its trunk and an elderly woman who remembers climbing among the branches as a child. As Tess works through her grief, "She thought about all her tree had done for so many people. A last tear dried. She was okay." Reynolds's fluid ink and watercolor illustrations poignantly convey the story's emotions. Despite the fact that Tess appears to be much younger than her "9 years, 3 months, and 2 days," this is a sincere and touching look at loss and healing.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
In this tender tale of love and loss, readers meet Tess, who cherishes her beloved-but very old-tree. When her family cuts it down, Tess reacts angrily, then channels her grief by preparing a funeral in her tree's honor. Dozens of guests gather to pay their respects: Her teacher reads a Stevenson poem, a couple recalls their budding romance and an elderly woman describes her childhood memories of swinging under its branches. While Tess's behavior seems unusually innocent for a child her age, her sincere grief is sweetly portrayed; she wraps yellow ribbons around the surrounding seedlings, dressing the tree's children for the funeral. In the end, her resiliency brings speedy resolution: "She thought about all her tree had done for so many people. / A last tear dried. She was okay." Reynolds's soft watercolor vignettes extend the quiet story. Wispy lines portray a subtle vulnerability; washes of muted blue effectively provide emotional depth as Tess survives grief's powerful storm. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061687525
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jess Brallier

Peter H. Reynolds is the award-winning author and illustrator of The Dot, Ish, and The North Star. He also illustrated the bestselling Someday by Alison McGhee, Tess’s Tree by Jess M. Brallier, and the bestselling Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald. Peter is the founder of FableVision, a transmedia learning company, creating animated films, books, and software. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2009

    A wonderful story, beautifully illustrated

    Young Tess, charmingly stubborn, refuses to let go of her beloved tree. By holding a tree funeral she learns about loss, life, and love. A gentle and uplifting book, told and illustrated with a smile, it is for any child dealing with disappointment, loss or death. Destined to be a classic, it deserves a special place on every child's bookshelf!

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