Year One Re-Post #5: Ava Tree and the Wishes Three

Originally published in December 2013. This quiet, elegant little book has resonated with me through the months.ava tree cover


By Jeanne Betancourt, Illustrated by Angela Dominguez


Published by: Feiwel & Friends; First Edition (March 31, 2009)

Available in: hardcover, Kindle, NOOK



Wishful thinking… what an intriguing premise.

Ava Tree and the Wishes Three is a solid chapter book with some big concepts packed into sweet, bite-size bits.

One unique aspect of this story is its configuration: there are three parts, each with five chapters. The action takes place over three days, with each part one day. I love that this lets the chapter book reader tackle something a touch longer and more complex than they might be used to. The three parts gives the reader goals within the book, so it might not seem overwhelming.

The story also tackles the death of parents. Although this is handled gracefully and with true empathy throughout, this fact is boldly revealed on page one. I admit to being slightly shaken right away. But once the story evolves, as much as this is sad, the author doesn’t exploit this tragedy, but rather holds and examines it carefully.

The plot is somewhat complex—as one would expect with a story that supports three separate parts—but is explained with plain repetition at just the right times. No child will be confused by this complexity. In fact, the depth of this story is one of its winning factors.

The warm, slightly boxy illustrations bring a light, welcoming feel. And the use of magic, rabbits and mean boys play into a world into which children can sink with comfort, even while digesting some uncomfortable sides of life—and death.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….

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