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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
The Tree Watcher by Christopher P. Stanley is an inspiring and beautifully crafted children’s book. A little boy sits at the base of a huge, old tree and gazes up in wonder. The reader is invited to ponder at the size of the tree, what it must have seen through the decades, possibly centuries it has been standing there. Trees are special and wondrous things, and begin life small like the child. And, like the child, they grow! The seasons come and go and the tree’s splendid colors inspire and delight us. Its branches provide welcome homes for the birds. Imagine the tree having a voice, a song of its own – listen and you will hear it.
This is one of those very special books that parents/adults can share with a child on a very meaningful level. Christopher P. Stanley knows just how to combine simple text for children that complements the full color illustrations on every page - drawing the reader into the book’s beautiful, mindful message. The Tree Watcher will encourage children to notice and think about how special and significant trees are, and to catch some of the magic and inspiration they offer us. The small child gazing up in wonder, noticing and observing, allows the reader to notice too - and consider, pause, and appreciate how extraordinary trees are.
The colorful illustrations are eye-catching, unusual, almost photographic, and I especially love the look of wonder in the little boy’s face and the bright coloring in the autumn/fall picture. We are invited to listen as well as look: “If you listen closely can you hear the subtle music?” Yes! Like the child when we notice with wonder and imagination, as though seeing for the first time, we sense the true beauty and significance of the world around us. The Tree Watcher is a very special, calming, and mindful book that will encourage children to keep noticing and using their imaginations. It would make a soothing bedtime story, but also prompt discussions about caring for nature and the world around us, and appreciating the beautiful things in life in general. Sincerely recommended.