Written by Polyanna Darling
Illustrated by Kirsty Chalmers
Heartwood is a heartwarming story that takes places in The Linney, which is a magical forest filled with trees that are hundreds of years old. Four trees are featured characters: Seth, The Tully Tree, Kelsey, and Tuleah. Each of these trees is inhabited by a different type of creature. A family of thirteen squirrels live in the Seth tree. Magpies sip the nectar in the flowers of the Tully tree. Tiny fairies live in the Kelsey tree, while a single raven named Bella makes her home in Tuleah. All of these creatures had lived in their homes for many years, but sadly none of them spoke to each other.
One day the peace of the forest is broken by a horrible noise. The creatures recognize it as a machine that knocks down trees. They call the bulldozer a “Smashbuster.” Forest inhabitants are in a panic about what to do, until Bella calls them together and warns them to stop quarreling if they intend to save their home from destruction. Bella berates them for their indifference and selfishness. She develops an ingenious plan to save the forest, but they must all agree to cooperate and work side by side.
The author skillfully reveals the clever plan step by step. Both the forest creatures and the humans who operate the machines have a lot to learn. This book of approximately fifty-five pages is a perfect chapter book for readers in the seven to ten age group. That is not to say that older readers and even adults will enjoy it. The charming and delicate illustrations done by Chalmers add much to the character and mood of the book. They are really exquisite. I cannot find anything not to like in this offering. Story-line flows nicely, the characters are believable, the lessons carefully crafted , and the artistic touches so well executed.
Pick up a kindle or paperback copy and enjoy!
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