Natasha Farrant follows her acclaimed fairy tale collection Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror with this companion volume of magical, intertwined stories about trees. The stories are framed by the character of Olive, a shy 11-year-old girl whose best friend is a 400-year-old oak tree. When Olive tries to defend the parkland trees of her family home from her father’s destructive ‘New Plans’, she is given seven hours to come up with an ‘impressive’ reason to save them. Thus begins Olive’s magical adventures into the world of trees as she is transported from tree to tree, back in time, and from story to story, one story for each hour she has to keep her promise, all the while learning more and more about the intricate nature and historical importance of trees.
Each tree that Olive meets, Oak, Linden, Alder, Plane, Wild Apple, Tulip and Box, has an enchanting tale to tell and Olive discovers the secrets of an ancient oak, helps to rescue a boy from a hunt, learns the mysteries of kelp forests and meets mermaids, explorers, runaway apple blossom brides, musicians, and storytellers. As her magical journey continues Olive learns about the longevity and ecological importance of trees and can keep her promise and persuade her father to plant trees rather than chop them down.
This is a completely spellbinding and beautiful book, a joy to read and look at. It is full of fascinating facts and information about trees, all interspersed with the stories. Lydia Corry’s vivid, colourful illustrations complement the text perfectly, filling the pages with trees, forests, leaves, tendrils, branches, seeds, flowers, and creatures, creating a magical green world. This is a book to treasure as a gift or to discover in a library or classroom, an enticing celebration of the world of trees and the vital role they play. Highly recommended.