The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Elena Pasquali and Sophie Windham

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The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Elena Pasquali and Sophie Windham

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A lovely, traditional tale, beautifully illustrated, that would make a nice Easter gift.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: January 2011
Publisher: Lion Hudson
ISBN: 978-0745961705

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There are three trees standing side by side on a hill. They dream together of what they hope to become in the future; one wishes to become a chest for the finest treasures, one wishes to be a ship carrying a mighty King, and the last wants to stay on the hillside quietly pointing up to heaven. The first is cut down and made into a trough, but then it turns out it is a trough in the stable where Mary gives birth to Jesus, so it becomes the manger for him. The second is made into a simple fishing boat, but then it is the boat which Jesus goes in when there is a big storm and he calms the waves. The third tree is cut down and forgotten in a yard until one day it is made into a cross. It is, of course, the cross Jesus is crucified on and becomes the symbol of hope, forever pointing to heaven.

The whole tale is told quite simply, and I found it was an interesting way to portray, very simply, the life of Jesus. Children already familiar with bible stories might be able to spot what part each tree is going to end up playing. I liked the idea of things not always being what they seem, so with the first two trees hoping for a life of riches and fame, then being disappointed that they are merely a trough for animal food and a fishing boat. Yet the reality is that they come to play a part in the life of one of the most famous men of all time. Although it features a scene of the crucifixion, it's helpful to know that Jesus on the cross is shown only in silhouette, so there is nothing too disturbing for smaller readers. However, the discussion you then get into about 'dying on a cross' with an inquisitive four year old afterwards can be challenging!

The illustrations are lovely, with beautiful colours and soft, old-fashioned drawings. There's one gorgeous picture near the end with Mary weeping in a field. She's sitting partially in darkness, yet in the distance you can see the cross upon the hill and the sun is rising behind it, and to each side of the picture are two angels, heads bowed in sadness but still standing guard. There's lots of detail to look at, different sizes of image and they're framed in different ways which keep your interest as you read. Some pages have beautiful banners running across them which I particularly liked. I had a slight issue with some of the human figures that are portrayed since many of them reminded me of American Pilgrims, or perhaps characters from The Waltons with their dungarees and boots which seemed to modernise the story. Jesus, thankfully, wasn't blond with blue eyes and was also dressed in the more typical long tunic style outfit.

It would make a lovely story to share, perhaps in a Sunday School, or just one to one with children at home. Although it prompts reflections on Easter, and it would be a nice alternative to an Easter Egg, it can be read all year round.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: You might also enjoy The Lion Storyteller Christmas Book by Bob Hartman and Krisztina Kallai Nagy.

Buy The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Elena Pasquali and Sophie Windham at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Elena Pasquali and Sophie Windham at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Elena Pasquali and Sophie Windham at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Elena Pasquali and Sophie Windham at Amazon.com.


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