Thursday, April 28, 2005

Our Tree Named Steve

Our Tree Named Steve
by Alan Zweibel, David Catrow, illustrator, 2005

The emotional punch that 32 pages of illustrations and text can deliver never ceases to amaze me.

"Our Tree Named Steve" is so funny and so touching that upon finishing it for the first time I immediately reopened the book and read it again and then again to savor the humor and the beautiful story.

Steve is the name a family gives to a special tree in their yard. Over the years it holds swings and hammocks, turns jump ropes, acts as third base, appears in family photos and shelters their home. The tree watches over the family as the children grow and change. Steve's "last trick" will make you gasp in dismay. There is solace for the family (and us) as Steve's spirit lives on.

David Catrow was exactly the right person to design this book. His illustrations are a perfect balance of humor and pathos. I love the dog. Alan Zweibel is a gifted television comedy writer but this is his first children's book. He must be congratulated. He has crafted something quite wondrous and fine.

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