Review sponsored* by J. Steven Spires
The Children’s Book Review | August 29, 2015
The Oak Tree
Written by J. Steven Spires
Illustrated by Jonathan Caron
Age Range: 4-10
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Inspired Books (2015)
ISBN: 978 0 9858469 4 7
What to Expect: Natural Disaster, Hurricane Katrina, Nature
One of the greatest pains of tragedy is that after a while, no one talks about it, as if it were history. In The Oak Tree, written by J. Steven Spires and illustrated by Jonathan Caron, the reader is given the opportunity to revisit the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast 10 years ago. Although this is not a light-hearted tale, The Oak Tree is a good starting point for discussions on natural disasters and the strength and resilience that comes from such events.
The Oak Tree offers a fresh take on the tragedy, telling the story from the perspective of an old oak tree, the centerpiece of a family’s front yard. The wonderful illustrations by Caron, who is only 18 years old, bring the story and the tree to life. The tree has a warm, expressive face, and it’s smiling when the day begins. But soon the wind picks up and the father and son nail boards to the windows. To the tree’s dismay, the family packs up their station wagon. Just before driving away, two of the children hug the tree and promise to be back soon. The tree begins to worry, as the rain pours down and the water rises. Branches break, the tree’s roots loosen, and still the water rises. At some point, only the eyes of the tree are above water, and the tree watches the rescue boats float by. Weeks and weeks go by and finally the family returns.
Though Hurricane Katrina is the book’s subject, The Oak Tree gives readers the chance to address fears and worries and to remember things that are lost, including the simple things, the favorite flowers and bushes and trees.
Add this book to your collection: The Oak Tree
About the Author
Steven Spires’ passion for adventure and storytelling began early in his life. After winning a writing contest in the seventh grade, Steve’s first published story was featured in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. Steve began his professional career in 2013 when Inspired Books Publishing published Three Little Shrimp—a children’s picture book showcasing the wonder of childhood amidst a backdrop of lurking danger. Steve is the winner of the Mom’s Choice Award and the 2014 Family Choice Award. Steve and his wife have been blessed with five children (Steven, Jr., Chris, Andrew, Victoria and Ryan) who have been home schooled since they were young. Steve and his family still reside in the Camellia City, Slidell, Louisiana, where he has been an educator for more than 25 years.
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