Wowza. This book. A few years ago, my Mom gifted me her copy of Our Tree Named Steve, and it quickly became one of my favorite children’s books. Alan Zweibel wrote this story from the perspective of a father writing a letter to his children, Adam, Lindsay, and Sari, who are away visiting their grandmother. At first glance, it seems like this would be a simple children’s book, however, it is so much more.
“Dear Kids, A long time ago, when you were little, Mom and I took you to where we wanted to build a house. . . . I remember there was one tree, however, that the three of you couldn’t stop staring at. . . .“
After the family spares him from the builders, Steve the tree quickly works his way into their lives. He holds their underwear when the dryer breaks down, he’s there when Adam and Lindsay get their first crushes, and he’s the centerpiece at their outdoor family parties. With a surprising lack of anthropomorphizing, this is a uniquely poignant celebration of fatherhood, families, love, and change.
Alan Zweibel has a pretty impressive resume. He was one of the original writers on “Saturday Night Live” ummmm what?! He has won many awards for his work on television shows like “It’s Gary Shandling’s Show,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Late Show With David Letterman.” He has written several books for both adults and children. I’ve never read any of his other books, but I feel like Our Tree Named Steve is tough to beat.
Steve became a very important member of the family throughout the years. He was there for dance parties, barbecues, and hangouts. Steve was there to hold their underwear when the dryer broke and to hold Uncle Chester as he napped in the hammock. Steve was there for every important moment as the kids grew up.
This letter was written for Adam, Lindsay, and Sari to remember all of these special moments and to give them some sad news about Steve. I’m not going to lie to you, I get a little teary eyed EVERY single time I get to the end of this book.
2020 has forced all of us to be home more than normal. I know things have been crazy but I will always cherish these past few months for being able to be home with my husband and our two dogs. Our Tree Named Steve makes me think about all of these special memories with my family and I guarantee you’ll do the same.
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Puffin Books; Illustrated Edition (February 15, 2007)
Reading Level: 2-5 years
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