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Comment: This is an ex-library book. It may have plastic covering the book as well as library tags/stickers. The inside back cover has been stamped stating purchased at public sale. This book has been fairly well used and is in acceptable condition.
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Our Tree Named Steve Hardcover – March 17, 2005

4.9 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3–When a storm fells a favorite tree, Dad writes a letter to his children, who are visiting their grandparents, to tell them the bad news. He reminds them of the day the family surveyed the piece of land where their new home would be built. Trees had to be cleared, but this giant, dubbed "Steve" by the youngest who couldn't pronounce "tree," was spared. Through the years, Steve became the family swing, third base, laundry line, campground, and even a first love's trysting place. The pencil-and-watercolor cartoons feature Catrow's familiar round-faced children and their comical dog. They extend the spare text with many visual jokes. A cheery palette gives way to dark magenta and blue when the tree dies, a melancholy dog sprawled across its stump. Zweibel attempts to give the story a hopeful twist at the end, but, overall, it is a bittersweet and genuinely sad slice of life.–Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

In a letter to his three children who are visiting their grandparents, a father recalls all the wonderful things Steve the tree has been to their family. When they visited the empty lot where they would build their house, Sari, the youngest, couldn't say tree, so she said "Steve." Thus, a family friend was dubbed. He was perfect for shade and hanging laundry when the dryer broke. He even held a hammock for fat Uncle Chester and drank all the sewer water when the sump backed up. Being a tree has its dangers, and a storm knocked Steve down. Friend to the last, Steve didn't fall on the house, doghouse, swing set or garden. Dad's writing to warn the kids that Steve won't greet them when they return, but his lumber has made a wonderful new playhouse. Zweibel and Catrow have created a faultless piece of bibliotherapy for children working through loss. Catrow's usual bright, wide-eyed, exuberant watercolors bring individuality and immediacy to Zweibel's simple text. Steve's almost-face shines in each illustration of this sentimental tribute.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Lexile Measure: AD890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (March 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399237224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399237225
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.3 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure who loved this book more - me or the kids! Set around one very special tree, "Our Tree Named Steve" traces the life of family and the changes that they go through. But through all of the changes, one thing remains constant - Steve's presence in their lives. The family quite literally grows up around Steve, the tree that greeted them in the yard as they moved in. This story, told with earnest simplicity, teaches children about the "roots" of family and how to cope with loss. This book is filled with humor, warmth and heart. Children of all ages will love "Steve" - and parents will love reading it to them.
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Format: Hardcover
Every parent should read this book to his or her children. You AND the kids will love it, be moved by it, and learn something from it.

For those who don't know, Alan Zweibel is the best and funniest writer you've never heard of -- one of the original writers on Saturday Night Live, creator of Garry Shandling's show, writer of many books, movies, TV episodes...you've almost certainly laughed at his material more than a few times without ever knowing he wrote it.

This is his first foray into children's books, as far as I know, but he has succeeded admirably. One hopes he will continue to enrich this genre.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my little sister and found myself enjoying it as much as she did during her story time. Explaining loss to a child is never easy but the author has found a way to do so using language a child can understand. The book focuses on the memories that we make with the important people and things in our lives and reminds us that they are never really gone. The book also reminds us that every act, whether it is a family barbeque or a simple game can help bind a family together. I recommend that every parent buy this book it helps turn a difficult topic into something uplifting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For lack of a longer and better written review, you must buy this book. It's wonderful and well written. It makes me tear up everytime I read it, whether out loud to a group of students or by myself at home. I can't wait to read it to my own children some day.
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Format: Hardcover
With infinite grace and deep understanding, Alan Zweibel imparts this tale of tradition, growing up, and the enduring spirit of family. Steve is more than just a tree- Steve is a vital part of the family, and the deference accorded him is both heartwarming and very realistic.

This book meant a lot to me because I had a climbing tree like Steve when I was growing up. My Steve aged over many years of Western New York winters. My parents ultimately had to pay a tree surgeon (I didn't know they existed either) to prolong the tree's life by a few more years. Now all that remains of the tree are memories. For me, this book captures all of what I remember of that climbing tree, and happy memories of growing up.

Alan Zweibel has done an amazing job of weaving together timeless themes in a new and touching package. This book is a must read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful heartwarming story about a family and a tree that hold many memories for them. I would recommend to teachers, parents to read to children when discussing loss and trying moving on. Focuses on great memories!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for my nephews (4 & 7) to put with a collection of books that my son (now 12) loved when he was 6-8 yrs old) He wouldn't let me give our copy of the book away because he still loves the artwork in all the books with this illustrator.
I chose this book because my son had purchased other books at the school book fair that had the same artwork and my son really loved the stories as well as the colorful and unique art. It has become a classic for my family. The story is simple but relatable and I think I love the story as much as he did back then. The narrator is a man, so I would read this story with a Carolina accent in a slow, deeper mans voice (sounding much like the guy (unnamed) from the Motel 6 commercials) I recommend this for any collection of books for those who keep books to pass on to other generations.
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