A young boy, Charles, and his toboggan, Boggan, set off through the woods in search of the elusive and possibly mythical wish tree, encountering a series of woodland creatures on their travels. The two friends assist a squirrel with a nut delivery, and a beaver with a shipment of wood, amongst other good deeds; in return, Charles and Boggan lay down for a rest and when they wake their animal friends have relocated them to the wish tree.
Chris Turnham’s vintage-evoking digital artwork is fantastic, with a comfortable mix of pinks, blues and browns. It feels like a book you might find on the bookshelf of a nice old cottage somewhere; a bit dusty, a bit worn, but much loved.
Author Kyo Maclear overshoots quaint by a few inches and hits self-consciously quirky and whimsical instead. The text feels overwritten by about 5%, with maybe a bit too much effort spent trying to wring out every drop of fancy from the situations.
On the other hand, there’s something to be said for a book that so blatantly embraces sticky sweetness without any trace of irony. It takes no cheap shots or makes any easy jokes.
The Wish Tree is a quaint story, with perhaps a touch too much sweetness for some palettes.
Kinderlit.ca received a copy of The Wish Tree in exchange for an honest review. Read about our Review Policy here.