Trees are so much a part of our daily lives, whether we take them for granted or find ourselves fighting for their survival: so it is perhaps unsurprising that there are many stories from all over the world that feature trees, woods or forests as a central theme or ‘character’…
Grandfather Goes on Strike
A boy, the book’s narrator, is dismayed when his aged grandfather climbs an old neem tree and refuses to come down until the council promises not to cut the trees down to make way for urban development. At first sceptical of his grandpa’s stand, he stands by as the police, a doctor, a TV news crew, council officials and other protestors come and go…
The story gets across very well the blend of affection and irritation that often characterises inter-generational relationships. Whilst some of the scenarios, as well as Grandpa’s apparent lack of planning in his protest, may require some suspension of disbelief, young readers are more likely to get caught up in the humour and emotional responses to what is a relevant current issue; and the book raises important questions about whether and how much you would be willing to stand up for what you believe in.
The Woodcutter of Gura
A woodcutter sits in a tree to chop firewood and is warned by a passing priest that the branch will break and he will fall down and die if he continues. When the first two parts of the prophesy come true, the woodcutter therefore believes that he must indeed have died – and his fellow villagers are convinced also, despite the woodcutter himself giving them instructions for taking him home, fetching his wife etc.
This nonsensical folktale from Ethiopia will tickle young readers’ sense of the ridiculous and make them feel very wise…
Read the book here.
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