Oliver’s Tree by Kit Chase
Oliver, Charlie and Lulu are three best friends who love to play together outside. When they play hide-and-seek though, Oliver doesn’t have as much fun as the others. Lulu is a bird who loves to hide in the trees and Charlie the rabbit does too. But Oliver is an elephant, and he doesn’t like trees at all, since he can’t climb them. So the three friends set out to find a tree that will work for Oliver. The low trees are too small for him. Trees with big branches are too tall. When they finally find a big low branch, Oliver is thrilled. But then the branch breaks. Oliver has had enough and runs off to be on his own. He settles down on a huge tree stump and dozes off. That’s when his friends have one great idea that saves the day and creates a tree that even an elephant can love!
Chase sets a pitch-perfect tone here for young children. It’s a pleasure to see three children playing together in a picture book that is not about jealousy. This instead is a book that celebrates differences and has children who work together to solve a problem in a creative way. The result is a jolly book that has a fast pace and a cheery personality.
Chase’s illustrations have the same bounce as the text of the book. They have a friendly quality that children will immediately respond to as well as a sweet humor that is cheerful.
It’s perfect tree climbing season right now, even if you are an elephant! Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Putnam.