Kanuki and the Wishing Tree
Written by Meredith Kennedy
Illustrated by Ali Masoud
Meredith Kennedy is a veterinarian who lives in Tanzania. She is certainly familiar with the animals of the Serengeti. This tale is about a young giraffe named Kanuki who despairs because she has a short neck. She has tried in vain to make it grow. One day she journeys through the forest asking all the animals that she meets to give her advice on how to make that happen. Alas, each of them tells her not to worry, and explain how their adaptation is more useful. For instance, the monkey tells Kanuki, “Tails are much better. You can swing and climb with a long tail like mine.” Kanuki tries to explain that being a giraffe, that is not what she needs. Finally, Kanuki meets an animal who is willing to help. I won’t give the answer away, but this animal leads her directly to a solitary tree atop a steep hill. Kanuki learns only that this is a Wishing Tree. She must choose her own path. The only requirement is to believe in herself.
At first Kanuki remains frustrated, but then the giraffe makes her decision. What does Kanuki discover? Were the other animals in the forest correct? Will Kanuki ever find happiness and learn to fit into her own community?
The illustrations in this book are done by an art student. They are quite impressive. The black and white simple pencil drawings are unique and pleasing to the eye. The small banners of all the animals dispersed throughout the pages are effective as well. Kennedy’s story makes a nice read aloud for a younger child. This book also provides a good early reader chapter book. The simple moral lessons embedded in the story are worthwhile ones for the young reader. I would suggest this book as a nice, enjoyable addition to a parent, classroom or school library. This book is also distributed by Worldreader, an organization that distributes free e books to deserving children, supplying another good reason to purchase it!
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