Review sponsored* by Gary Foster
The Children’s Book Review | October 9, 2018
Written by Gary Foster
Age Range: 4-7
Paperback: 36 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 19, 2018)
What to expect: Family, Trees, Imagination
This is the story of a very old tree, a cheeky and imaginative little girl, the glories of nature, and the joys of family.
Seven-year-old Kirsty is excited to visit her grandparents because this will be the first time she’ll be able to climb the tree that stands tall and proud in the open field behind their house. Anticipation has built thanks to her older brother James who has been bragging to her about the tree for the past few years. After her first climb, it appears her brother was right because the view from high up in the branches is spectacular. The tree soon becomes her castle and the setting for many imaginative scenarios. Kirsty vows to look after this tree forever and, by doing so, readers discover that there is a family history attached to this tree—and history has a way of repeating itself.
This short story is geared to newly independent readers. The format of the book is all text and no pictures. It could also serve as a read-aloud story. Keep in mind that there are no chapter separations, so young readers may want to keep a bookmark handy just in case they want to hold their page. Despite a few grammatical mishaps, the author creates mystery and mystique through his descriptions of the field that surrounds the tree: the tall grass, plentiful flowers, and the non-existence of landowners and animals. There are many relatable components to the story, too, including bragging siblings and the use of imaginative play that will be recognizable to the intended younger audience.
This could be an enjoyable read for kids ages 4 through 7 who like nature, visiting their grandparents, and engaging their imagination.
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About the Author
The author is an internationally renowned professor in science—most certainly not in English—and also a dad. Also, being Northern Irish, he was born with the gift of storytelling. Some say he didn’t just kiss the Blarney Stone, he swallowed it whole.
When his kids were young—some 20+ years ago—the stories were made up and told to his two kids, James and Kirsty, and never ever written down. He used to tell the stories to his kids and their friends—made up stories that were told to groups of kids on family outings with friends to the pub, beach, restaurant etc. Then, one day, all these kids told their teachers about it & he was invited into school to tell some stories to whole classes. But he couldn’t just rock up and just be let loose on some under-10-year-old kids, so he had to write them down for teachers to check. This was the very first time he had to do this and he hated it. Why? Well, whilst mastering and excelling at science and maths at school, this so called ‘author’ had struggled to write and spell all his life, and still does. His wife still lovingly jokes that English is his second language, and that they’re still looking for what language is his first.
Since this time, these badly hand written stories with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors lay at the back of a cupboard. Now his kids’ generation are having their own kids, so the stories got dug out again and were seen by a book agent who suggested they should be published. The rest is history … or indeed silly madness. Much to the annoyance of his editor, publisher et al, he has insisted all his stories be published more or less exactly how he’d written them. His view: Who cares if a comma is in wrong place if it’s being read out loud or just being enjoyed. He knew he’d be hung drawn and quartered by the literary world for this; but, right or wrong, he had his reasons. He wanted it as an example to all kids who aren’t great at spelling or writing either: You can turn out ok anyway.
Even though you get told off for ‘grammatical errors’ in class you can still enjoy words, books, and novels. You can still use the words, you can still enjoy stories, and most important of all you can make your own story.
These are just some of his stories, we hope you enjoy them. Now make up your own stories, just like he did, and enjoy words.
You can also follow Gary Foster on Twitter.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. Gary Foster sponsored* this non-biased review of “Kirsty and the Tree.” Learn more about getting a book review …