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The Cookie Tree Library Binding – January, 2000
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I read this book my junior year of college when I was taking my Children's Literature course. We had to read and rate at least ten books a week and so I was grabbing books off the shelf right and left without even looking at them. When I found this one I was absolutely enchanted. The character descriptions are brief but they give a complete picture of the villagers' personalities.
The underlying theme of recognizing and accepting supernatural blessings is a powerful one. The older I get the more I catch myself over analyzing things to the point where I cannot see the blessings right in front of me. I get caught up in my own ideas of how the world works, and what is to be expected out of life, and unconsciously begin to think that I have control over the way the world works.
The villagers ask, "What is [this tree] for? Everything has to be FOR something!" This seems like a silly question, and yet have you never asked yourself "Why me? Why now? What could I have possibly done to deserve this job/person/opportunity/blessing?" We jump through hoops trying to figure out a cause and effect for things that shouldn't happen according to our limited understanding of what is "possible".
What is a blessing? A gift, a praise? Perhaps. Here's where my faith comes into play: I believe that it can also be a reminder. A reminder that we are not in control. In spite of our efforts to come up with a rhyme and a reason for everything, God still has some surprises up his sleeves that are quite beyond our understanding.
Children's Literature? Yes, but there are messages for adults as well. At the same time we plant seeds of profound thinking in these little minds that will come back to them later in life when they are old enough to understand them on a deeper level.
When I taught second grade, I read it to my students and they picked up on the profound themes in this book without my saying a word. As I read this book to them they offered theories about WHY the tree appeared in the center of the town and what it was for:
"I think the kids were bored because nothing exciting happened in their town, so the magician sent the tree for THEM."
"God gave them the tree."
*This is a great book to teach descriptive language and personification.
Examples: "The leaves whispered...", "....leaves that twinkled in the sun." Have the kids design their own magical tree or plant and come up with a descriptive sentence.
*Scriptural parallels: Matthew 19:26, Job 36:26, Proverbs 3:5
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Now I have bought it for my Great Nephew. He also loves it!