Red is old. In fact, he’s hundreds of years old. He’s seen a lot in his time. Well, as much as can be seen when you never move from one spot. Ever. He’s an oak tree, but a pretty special one. You see, years ago, someone made a wish and wrote it on a piece of paper, tied it to one of Red’s branches and then, waited. Amazingly, the wish came true! And that is how the tradition started – with Red becoming the town’s wishtree. Each year on the first day of May, people come from all over to deliver their wishes – some for the year, some for right now, some for years in the future. And Red takes them all.
However, times are changing. Red’s deep roots are starting break up the sidewalks and get into the plumbing of the nearby houses. It looks like Red’s time as the wishtree might be coming to an end. Especially when something else happens to draw attention to the tree. Someone carves a word into the tree – LEAVE. Red has a feeling he knows who that word is directed toward. A little girl and her family, who have come from a long way away and are trying to make a new life, are different from others. The little girl, Samar, makes a wish one night, for a friend.
At that moment, Red and all his friends who live in him, decide that they will try to make this one last wish come true before Red’s time runs out.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is for anyone who has ever wondered “what if the trees could talk…and the animals…to us?” Or looked for a friend in an unconventional place. This is a heartwarming quick read about acceptance, tolerance and making new friends while keeping old ones.
Recommended for 6th grade and up.