When I read Little Tree for the first time this past July, (Thanks Penguin for the F&G), I was kind of speechless. Not often does a book leave me that way, but Little Tree did. As many regular readers of this blog know, my 19 year old sister died unexpectedly last December, and over the course of what has now been almost a year, I have made many unexpected connections between books, life, death, relationships, and lessons that you sometimes only get the chance to learn the hard way.
Today, on the book’s release date, I have a hard copy in my hand and I read it over again. A quote I heard that is credited to Robert Frost was brought to mind: “In three words I can summarize everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
Now, Frost does not say that picking up the pieces and moving forward, or letting go of something, is easy. But the fact that life always goes on is inevitable. It’s what we do with the experiences that matter. There is a big difference between “letting go” and “moving on.” In Little Tree, Loren so perfectly captures what it means to move on with courage and bravery.
We are introduced to a little tree, filled with leaves. As is typical for trees, as the seasons change, the leaves change color, and it is time to drop them. But this unique little tree does not drop his leaves. He clings to them, afraid of what might happen if he drops them.
Season after season, the little tree hangs on tight. As the book progresses, we see the other trees growing, blossoming, and becoming what they were meant to be. But, the little tree doesn’t do any of those things. Instead, he sticks out with his dry, brown leaves in a forest that is meant to flourish.
And one winter, something strikes the little tree as he notices everyone is so much bigger, with branches reaching high in the sky. And the little tree lets go. And in time, he too flourishes and grows to what he was meant to be.
I don’t have to elaborate on what the takeaway from this book is. I believe that everyone, children and adults alike, will bring their own experiences to this book and come away with renewed hope and encouragement that it’s OK to move on and let go.
This is a book for everybody. Children. Teens. Adults. Using acrylic, ink and pencil, Loren creates the perfect illustrations to match the powerful text of Little Tree. Loren takes advantage of the white space at the beginning of the book, and gradually increases the power of the illustrations as we progress through the journey with the little tree.
I don’t know what more I can say about a book like Little Tree, other than, it is one you will certainly want to purchase for all you know and add to your collection of stories that will touch your heart and stay with you for years to come, with the gentle reminder that it’s okay to be courageous and move forward.
View a trailer for the book here.