Published by Feiwel and Friends
Summary: Red is an oak tree that has stood for over two centuries. He has seen many animals come and go, and quite a few humans, too, in the two houses that he faces. Samar and Stephen live next door to each other in those houses, and Samar wishes for Stephen to be her friend. Like many humans have done before, she ties the wish to Red’s branches. Red and his crow friend Bongo do what they can to help with this wish, but their plans don’t work. And when a teenager with a screwdriver carves the word “Leave” in front of Samar’s house, it looks like her wish will never come true. Francesca, the owner of the two houses, decides it’s time to cut down Red. But Wishing Day is coming, and sometimes the magic of all those wishes can be enough to bring some unexpected changes. 224 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: Another beautiful, thoughtful story by Katherine Applegate. This would make a perfect classroom read-aloud. There is plenty to discuss, the illustrations are adorable, and there’s even a good dose of tree humor. To me, the story isn’t quite enough to warrant a Newbery, but I’m sure there will be some consideration.
Cons: By the end of the story, I felt guilty for considering cutting down the three oak trees in my backyard. A few days of raking leaves and acorns will most likely take care of this.