Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank's Window by Jeff Gottesfeld - ESSENTIAL

Gottesfeld, Jeff  The Tree in the Courtyard:  Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window  Illustrated by Peter McCarthy  Alfred A. Knopf, 2016  $17.99  PICTURE BOOK  Content: G.    

This story tells of a tree that lives on a street in Amsterdam.  The tree sees the Frank family because Otto Frank works at the store and the tree knows Anne and her family.  When the tree hasn’t seen them for a while it is worried, but then it spots Anne in the window of the Annex.  The tree shares in some of Anne’s moments in the Annex, like Chanukah and her first kiss with Peter.  Eventually the tree sees Anne being taken away in a black car.  It also witnesses Otto’s return from prison camp.  The tree dies in 2010, but the saplings are planted all over the world in honor of freedom and tolerance.   

This is an emotional book.  To see the story of Anne Frank from a different perspective and in such a succinct telling is powerful.  I love that the tree is used to remember freedom and tolerance today.  Although the personification of the tree is untrue, there is a lot of facts and truth to the story.  There is an author’s note with the real story of what happened to the tree.  The illustrations are simple done in just  brown and white.  

MS – ESSENTIAL; HS – ADVISABLE.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

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