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The Listening Tree
     

The Listening Tree

by Celia Lottridge
 

It's 1935, and Ellen and her mother must leave their dried up Saskatchewan farm to board with Aunt Gladys in Toronto. Intimidated by her new surroundings, Ellen chooses to hide in the branches of the large leafy tree outside her window and watch their neighborhood children playing, rather than joining in their games. But when Ellen overhears a plan to evict the

Overview

It's 1935, and Ellen and her mother must leave their dried up Saskatchewan farm to board with Aunt Gladys in Toronto. Intimidated by her new surroundings, Ellen chooses to hide in the branches of the large leafy tree outside her window and watch their neighborhood children playing, rather than joining in their games. But when Ellen overhears a plan to evict the family next door from their home, she must overcome her fears and warn Charlene, the oldest girl in the family. Together, the girls foil their greedy building manager's plot and "hatch" a plan to sell eggs in order to pay the family's mounting back rent.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for One Watermelon Seed:

"Luxuriant illustrations, a counting lesson that goes beyond 1 to 10, and the fun of hunting for hidden creatures: this new edition of One Watermelon Seed is sure to be a hit with both preschoolers and those who read to them."
ForeWord Magazine

VOYA - Paisley Adams
Lottridge's The Listening Tree revolves around the depression and its effects on Canada. Central to the story is the main character, Ellen, who from a tree outside her bedroom window, listens to adults talking and realizes that she is needed to step forward and help the kids who reside next to her. The book is slow-paced and the story's events are not engaging or exciting. Even though its backdrop is the Great Depression, very little historical information is given. The conclusion is lackluster. This book is for readers younger than teens. Teens would not have much interest in this story. Reviewer: Paisley Adams, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Ursula Adams
Renowned Canadian author Lottridge's newest book, The Listening Tree is set during the Great Depression in Canada. This historical fiction novel depicts what life was like during this period for nine-year-old Ellen Jackson. Lottridge chronicles the challenges that Ellen and her mother must face to keep their farm alive and food on their table. Eventually, they travel across the country to take room and board at Ellen's aunt's boarding house. It is there that Ellen, too shy to interact with the children next door, discovers her "listening tree." She climbs her tree to enjoy her own private place. One day, however, she overhears something that causes her to take action and reach out to the neighborhood children. The children then work cooperatively and innovatively to solve their dilemma. Lottridge provides a wealth of well-developed, believable characters, especially Ellen. The story is a deftly-written, heartbreaking, and heartwarming tale of friendship and the perseverance to withstand hardships. This is a great book to introduce young readers to the impact of the Great Depression. Like some of Lottridge's other books, Ticket to Curlew (Groundwood, 2007) and Home is Beyond the Mountains (Groundwood, 2010/VOYA August 2010), The Listening Tree will serve as a great addition to any young readers' historical fiction bookshelf. While it should appeal to younger readers, particularly young girls, it probably is not substantial enough to be favored highly with older teen audiences. Reviewer: Ursula Adams
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—It's the height of the Great Depression, and Ellen watches as her father and the other men in their small rural town hop a freight train west in search of work. When things get desperate, the nine-year-old and her mother leave their small Saskatchewan farm for Toronto where Ellen's aunt has promised them room and a job at her boarding house. It's a time of change for Ellen, from farm life to the big city, and nothing is quite the same. The big house is filled with a variety of boarders including a lawyer who now drives a cab, students, and others working odd jobs to support their families. Ellen shoulders her new responsibilities around the house but shies away from the large Kennedy family next door. She is content to reread her treasured books and listen from her perch outside her bedroom window where she can sit on the large elm branch, camouflaged by the leaves, and watch as the world unfolds underfoot. It's when Ellen overhears a scam to evict the Kennedys that she learns to take action and stand up for what she believes is right. In an age when children are not meant to be heard, Ellen joins forces with her neighbors, making friends along the way. With its child's-eye view of life in 1935 and the hardships faced by families and business owners, this reassuring story about growing up and learning to speak out should find a place in many collections.—Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554550524
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Pages:
154
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Celia Barker Lottridge was born in Iowa. When she was a child her family moved often, from the prairies to the west coast, then to the east coast and finally back to the prairies. In 1975 she moved to Toronto where she worked in the Children?s Book Store and began to write books for children. She also became a very active storyteller, performing in schools, libraries and theaters.

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