Our Tree Named SteveSometimes people ask me “how did you come across that book?” Well, this one I noticed when I posted about the 2013 Green Earth Book Award a few weeks back … indirectly. I was searching for the winning picture book The Family Tree written & illustrated by David McPhail in my library’s database … er … card catalog. That’s when I noticed Our Tree Named Steve and immediately requested it based on its intriguing name (it didn’t hurt that it was illustrated by David Catrow of Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon fame). Written in letter form from a father to his children, the life of a giant tree in a family’s backyard is described. All is well, the kids played and grew, the uncles hammocked, the dog did what dogs do, all under this wonderful backyard tree… named Steve …

Our Tree Named Steve
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And then four pages before the end … well, I don’t want to give it completely away, but BEWARE – Our Tree Named Steve has an emotional, possibly tough to take, but ultimately shiver-inducing ending. I wasn’t prepared for the ending and I welled up with tears.

This book receives the rare and coveted Books that Give Me Chills honor. I hesitate to say one of the topics is about Death, but frankly, it’s probably not a bad book to read if you’re looking for a children’s book on the topic.  At first reading, it didn’t occur to me to compare Our Tree Named Steve to Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. But upon second glance, it is a modern take with a similar heft of sentiment. Thanks, Mr. Alan Zweibel.


Borrow. Read. Return. Repeat.