By: Norman Whaler
Illustrated by: Hrytskova Polina
Publisher: Beneath Another Sky Books
Publication Date: December 2017
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
A tiny, scraggly cypress tree finds herself surrounded by big, strong trees that make fun of her in Norman Whaler's The Tiny Tree. Will the little tree ever find acceptance?
On a lovely sunny day, a forest ranger walked into the woods with a watering can and a tiny cypress sapling. He found a perfect spot to plan the little tree, in a place near many big, beautiful trees. The forest ranger planted the tree, watered it, and then left to do other chores – it was now up to the cypress tree to grow big and strong. Unfortunately, the other tress had never seen a cypress tree and made fun of the little twig.
Now, this young twig was different from the others.
She didn’t look like her tree sisters or tree brothers.
They all had beautiful and colourful leaves.
She instead had needles and big knobby knees.
The other trees told the little, scraggly cypress tree to leave their forest because she wasn’t like them.
This made the tiny tree feel very, very sad,
For to be different must be very, very bad.
Time went by and the cypress tree grew big and strong, but still the other trees would not speak to her. Then one day, a terrible storm blew through the forest. The winds were so powerful that the big, strong trees were worried they’d be blown over. But the cypress tree had roots that went much deeper into the ground. She could withstand the strong winds – would she help the other trees survive the storm?
The Tiny Tree is a story that tackles the topics of being different and bullying in a story that children will easily understand. Without getting preachy, the author has written a story in a gentle rhyme that delivers a fun tale that also provides an important anti-bullying message. Young readers will see how the big trees’ bullying makes the little cypress tree feel, and realize it isn’t a nice thing to do. They’ll also see how being different can be a wonderful thing when everybody works together. The pictures are simple and bright, with all the trees sporting great expressions that easily show children what each is thinking. If you’re looking for a book for either the classroom or the home bookshelf that will teach children about bullying and how to handle feeling different from others, consider The Tiny Tree.
Quill says: A powerful lesson on fighting racism and bullying, that delivers its lesson wrapped in a lovely story of a little cypress tree.