The Tree and the River by Aaron Becker: Another wordless masterpiece to add to Becker’s already impressive collection on the bookshelf with all the hallmarks of his previous works.
The Tree and the River Book Review
The cover tells the whole story without the reader even noticing until the end. This is one of the hallmarks of almost any Becker work, like the Journey trilogy. He explores contrasting themes of time and timelessness and human impact and the lack of human impact. A tree grows next to a river just as thousands if not millions of other trees. Humans come and do what humans do: attempt to conquer their environments and each other. Which one gets the last laugh: mankind or Nature? Readers of Becker’s other works will know to be on the lookout for foreshadowing from the start, but will not see it until near the end offering astute readers that morsel of sweet discovery when they find it.
The wordless genre allows even very young readers to access the story, but it has enough meat in the story to offer even older readers something to digest and talk about. After his more artistic ventures like You Are Light and One Sky and the gorgeous collaboration for Survivor Tree, this book was a dive back into the kind of work that first put him on everyone’s radar.
The Tree and the River will give readers and classrooms a lot to talk about with the varying themes and in-roads into science and social studies classes. The science fiction aspect will leave you with a sense of wonder yet make you think about our existence as a society and the bigger role we may or may not play in the grander history of the world. This book is a must have for lovers of Becker’s other works, the wordless book genre, kids interested in nature and society and libraries everywhere! First grade, with support, through 5th grade will really enjoy this story the most.