Review – The Wattle Tree

Molly misses her grandma. It makes her feel awfully sad. She misses her hugs, her smells, her baking scones and biscuits in the kitchen.

Molly’s mum is also sad. How Molly wishes Grandma would come back again.

One day, Molly finds Grandma’s big straw hat. She puts it on and wanders into the garden where she finds a beautiful wattle tree with dark green leaves like a dress her gran used to wear, and gentle curves like the curls of her hair. Molly feels at peace here.

The next week, she returns to the tree, which is now covered in blousey, golden wattle flower. Molly puts her arms around the trunk and hugs it tight. It becomes her special place for Grandma and she liked keeping it secret.

Until one day when she sees Mum crying over Grandma. So she decides to share her special place.

This is a heartfelt, sweet book about loss but also about remembering, and finding solace in both the objects that once belonged to someone we love – and the comfort to be found in nature.

This book was particularly poignant for me, as I have my own very special tree that brings back the fondest memories, and connects me to those long gone. This book shows children there is a way to honour our dearly departed, and therefore keep them close.

Beautifully warm, pastelly illustrations by Ben Wood perfectly convey the tender emotion of this book – illustrations that are firmly carving this artist a place in the beloved Australian children’s book niche.

The Wattle Tree is published by Lothian. Published tomorrow.