Context: I read this book out loud to my 3 and 5 year old children. This was required by the 5 year old's school who were participating in an activity where every child (kindergarten to grade 12) in the school district had to read the same book. I am not the target audience and, frankly, neither are my children. They enjoyed it well enough, but they just like being read to. I could read them the phone book and they'd be happy. Most of the 'clever bits' completely flew over their head. I suspect that kids in the 8-12ish age range would be a better fit. If I was a 10 year old, I bet I would have given this book 4 stars.

So, yeah, not my cup of tea. That's not to say that it doesn't have good parts. I quite enjoyed the stories about the people surrounding the wishtree - particularly the one about Maeve and Ama. I liked Stephen and Samar and the fact that it wasn't easy to get them to interact enough to get to know each other. I also appreciate the author taking on the task of writing a book about racism that appears innocuous enough to reach the kids who really need to read a book about racism.

But a lot of it is trying too hard. To be relevant. To be quirky. To be educational.

For example...
"Hush," their mother, FreshBakedBread scolded. "It's the middle of the day. You're supposed to be asleep. You're crepuscular." Crepuscular creatures, like fireflies, bats and deer, are especially active at dusk and dawn.

If that sounds like the sort of thing you want to read, you'll enjoy this book. Personally, it pulls me out of the story and makes me wonder why the author thought that paragraph was a good idea. And it wasn't the only incidence of "look! biological vocabulary break!"

(FreshBakedBread is the name of a skunk. The author came up with a different naming convention for every species. Which sort of helped you remember which was which, but mostly felt like "look at me being quirky!" Except for the Raccoons who name all their kids You. That one I liked.)

2 stars doesn't mean it's a bad book. It's a perfectly good book. The stars represent personal enjoyment of the book. And my favourite part of reading it was snuggling with my kids. Which I'll do again tomorrow with another book.

susan_findlay's rating:
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