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

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!

Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.

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