Thursday, 6 February 2020

Tree: A gentle story of love and loss

Tree: A gentle story of love and loss by Lynn Jenkins, illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan (EK Books) RRP PB $19.99
ISBN 9781925820126

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Tree is the fifth and final book in a series about emotional resilience, written by clinical psychologist, Lynn Jenkins. The five picture books each feature a narrative around a common emotional difficulty. The two main characters in the stories are Loppy and Curly. Loppy is a ‘LAC’, an acronym for Little Anxious Creature and Curly is a ‘Calmster’ who helps create peace and calm.

Tree is a story about saying goodbye and coming to terms with the loss of a friend. Tree is the much-loved centrepiece of the village where the LACs and Calmsters congregate. Loppy loves Tree and is always soothed by its calming nature as he sits underneath and ponders over anxiety driven ‘What if…’ questions. One day his friend Curly joins him at the tree and sensitively discusses the way Tree’s leaves are falling at the wrong time of year. ‘I’m afraid our precious friend is starting to leave us.’ Loppy is naturally upset and confused about the thought of losing a friend, so Curly helps him find ways to cope with his feelings. Together, with the other LACs and Calmsters, they spend time with Tree, say special goodbyes and find unique ways to cherish their memories.

Tree includes themes of friendship, loss, grief and resilience and is suitable for children aged 4-8. The quirky looking characters are endearing and would appeal to a young audience. The pencil and watercolour illustrations are largely monochrome, with red a feature for the LACs, yellow a feature for the Calmsters and green a feature for the tree. If you enjoy Tree, you may also be interested in the other books in this series: Lessons of a LAC, Brave, Perfect Petunias and Grey-Glasses-itis which all seek to help children manage big thoughts and feelings. For further information visit www.lessonsofalac.com

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