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Reviewed by Rachel Inbar for Readers' Favorite
Secrets of the Memory Tree: A Magical Story about Friendship, the Ancient Ones, and a Grand Old Tree by Angie Bird begins with an introduction that is almost a dedication to the trees. It provides the basis for the entire story, laying a foundation that draws you in. The story begins with Anna and Fritz, two children lying on the ground, admiring the clouds as they dance by. A gentle rhythm lulls them to sleep. When they awake, they are surrounded by Ancients - perhaps people from long ago. The Ancient children welcome Anna and Fritz and decorate Anna’s hair with feathers and other items from nature, after which they invite them to dance. Anna and Fritz dance with the Ancient children until they tire. They then drift off to sleep, awakening away from the Ancient world. Their bond with the Ancient world and with nature, however, remains.
Angie Bird's Secrets of the Memory Tree is a pleasure to read and I found her soft and gentle writing style to be reminiscent of John J. Muth’s books. Her technique is poetic and creates an atmosphere of remarkable peacefulness, in which the details of the story are less important than the emotions the young readers will surely feel while reading it. It is a book that can be both read aloud to children or read by children themselves, being the perfect length for young readers. Karina Pola Slazar Perez’s beautiful illustrations show the difference between the present and the past, emphasizing the beauty in rituals and the simplicity of ancient times.