Saturday, 11 July 2015

Books I Have Read - The Wishing Tree

The Wishing Tree 
Ruth Chew 

Published in 1980 by Scholastic Book Services. Printed in Australia by Hedges & Bell Pty Ltd.

This a small book for younger readers. 

It is about two children, Peggy (Peg) and Brian, ages unknown but they are old enough to walk two blocks to Prospect Park. The park is located in a town or city in the USA. The story starts with the children leaving the park just as the sky is turning pink as the sun starts to set. As they head for the exit they see an old beech tree with what looks like ‘little faces peering out of it’. A bird sings in its branches even though it is November and old woman, sitting on a stone bench with a shopping bag next to her, was watching the bird. A striped grey cat suddenly runs out of the bag. Now remember the cat as he is important as is what is in the shopping bag.

The cat follows the children home but this is no ordinary cat, this is a cat that can talk. It is also a cat that leads the children into a magical land.  He does this by taking them back to the old beech tree. There they find the old lady feeding a mockingbird on a blue tablecloth. She runs away taking the tablecloth with her. The cat runs behind the tree. The bird tells them he has gone inside the tree and the children follow. 

Nothing is as it seems in this story. The tree is not an ordinary tree, it is a wishing tree and as the children find out it is dangerous to wish for things you don’t really want. The old lady is homeless but she is a thief. The blue tablecloth is not just a tablecloth. The box the children find at the bottom of a pond holds something precious. The cat, as I have said, is no ordinary cat, for one thing he likes watching television. One thing or person I should say, that is definitely not what it seems is the giant. It is not a giant and why is he not a giant because he is an ordinary man who wished to be big and he was. 

But wishes do come true, the giant become his normal human size again after a year of being a giant and following the children and the cat through the beech tree they go from brilliant sunshine into freezing cold snow. Laying on the ground, in the snow, is the old lady.  Fred, who was the giant, picks up the lady, who is not soo old, and carries her and the blue tablecloth back into his own magical land, back into the sunshine. Meanwhile the cat goes and lives with the children because, well because as he says, “Magic is all very well, Peggy. But that tablecloth never brought forth anything to compare with your mother’s pot roast.”
I liked this story, again another happy ending with a bit of a moral, I suppose. Be careful what you wish for, you might actually get it.

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