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Reviewed by Brenda Daniels for Readers' Favorite
The Storm Tree, written by Hélène Ferreira and illustrated by Creature of Habit – Creative by Nature, is a beautiful, multilayered picture book that tells a thought-provoking story. Rosalie, a farmer, owns a tree that has never flowered. When a lonely neighbor takes up flute playing, the tree begins producing not flowers but musical instruments. When a storm hits the valley, the tree is shocked (literally) into playing orchestral music from its wood, brass, and stringed instruments. These sounds call the people from the danger of the valley up to the safety and shelter of the tree. Under the branches of the tree, the people learn togetherness, a lesson they carry forward with them.
Other lessons are to be had in this story. In echoes of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Rosalie learns that she cannot monetize her tree. The lonely neighbor learns about community. And the tree itself learns that power is fleeting. I enjoyed the gentle way the words, pictures, and multicolored typography (when indicating musical instruments) work together to convey these meanings. The theme of togetherness is well carried throughout and is reflected in the lack of one strong protagonist (even the tree itself bows to a higher power), in the orchestral music, and in the clever use of color. I found The Storm Tree by Hélène Ferreira a rich, worthwhile tale that invites careful reading over and over again.