Parents' Guide to

The Tree and the River

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Past, future mix in compelling wordless tale of one place.

The Tree and the River book cover: Illustration of blue river running through a natural green landscape with a big tree highlighted in the foreground and the reflection of a blue-gray city below in the river

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This detailed look at the growth of one place through time is both an alternate history of civilization and a hopeful wordless story of recovery and renewal. The Tree and the River can also be seen as a cautionary tale of humans' impact on nature and ability to change their world through technology. In the end, nature seems to win, or at least to persist and survive.

Unlike author-illustrator Aaron Becker's previous wordless books, there's no main human character or characters to follow on a quest or grieving process. The tree and the river are the main characters. And, as usual, Becker gives readers young and old a lot to think about as they pore over his intricate illustrations.

Book Details

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