Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Our tree named Steve

Our tree named Steve

Alan Zweibel
Illustrator:  David Catrow 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0399237225

A father is writing to his children, for something has happened at home that they need to know about. He begins by telling them the story of how a tree became a member of their family. For some reason, when the family chose the land on which to build their new home, they could not bear to cut down a large odd-looking tree which stood on the land. One of the children, unable to pronounce tree, called the tree Steve, and the name stuck.

Steve soon was a vital part of family life. He was playmate, a clothes dryer, a hammock hanger, a camping venue, and much more. Indeed Steve was a part of many family activities, rites of passage, and celebrations, and the tree did more than its fair share of helping the family out in times of trouble.

Now however, Steve’s time is over for the tree was destroyed during a storm. The father breaks this difficult news as gently as he can, reminding his children of all the wonderful Steve memories that they share and telling them that “Steve will always be with us.”

This delightful and poignant tale of how a tree becomes a member of a human family will surely touch the heart of anyone who reads it. Readers will see how a tree or some other plant can acquire a very personal significance over time. It ceases to be just a tree but instead it becomes a friend. Perhaps, after reading this book and chuckling over the amusing and warm illustrations, children will look at trees a little differently, and will see that the pine, locust, or maple tree in their yard is also, in its own special way, a member of their family.