The Branch

by Mireille Messier, Pierre Pratt (Illustrations)


5 Stars

Publisher: When an ice storm snaps a small girl’s favorite branch from the tree in her yard, she’s crestfallen. The girl’s mom says it’s just a branch. But not to her! “That was the branch I sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship . . .” Luckily, her neighbor Mr. Frank understands. He says the branch has “potential.” “What’s potential?” she asks. “It means it’s worth keeping.” And so, with imagination and spirit, and Mr. Frank’s guidance and tools, the girl transforms the broken branch into something whole and new, giving it another purpose, and her another place to treasure. In this endearing picture book, author Mireille Messier explores a young child’s experience with loss and renewal. Though the little girl is heartbroken that her special perch in the tree is gone, the kindness and vision of her neighbor, combined with her own creativity and determination, help her recognize that it can have a new life in a different form. The charming intergenerational relationship adds depth and richness to the story, as it becomes clear they both offer something valuable to each other. The story is vividly and warmly illustrated by renowned, award-winning artist, Pierre Pratt. This book would work well for character education lessons on perseverance, teamwork and initiative. It also provides an excellent example of caring for the environment by reusing salvaged materials, making it a terrific pick for Maker Spaces and STEAM lessons.

My Review:  When an ice storm wakes up a little girl with a loud snapping sound she is sad and upset that her favorite branch from the tree in her yard has broken off. This is the branch she sat on, jumped on, played under, pretended it was her castle, ship etc. Her mother does not understand at first but then lets her keep the branch. Her neighbour, Mr. Frank builds things, so he says he will help her make something else with it. He tells her the branch has “Potential”. “What’s potential?” she asks. “It means it’s worth keeping.” Mr. Frank and the little girl work together to make something new that will remind the little girl about her branch and all the fun she had with it.

This book could be used when teaching about perseverance, teamwork and initiative. It also shows how older people can be partners in activities and about spending time with them. It could also be used in environmental activities about repurposing things instead of throwing them out and getting new things. The illustrations are great in this book, bright, colourful and imaginative. A great book for school and classroom libraries.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.