The Tree in the Court­yard: Look­ing Through Anne Frank’s Window

Jeff Gottes­feld; Peter McCar­ty, illus.
  • Review
By – July 14, 2016

The young horse-chest­nut tree in the back­yard of the Annex where the Franks and their friends hid from the Nazis, briefly tells the sto­ry of the family’s time there, and espe­cial­ly Anne’s writ­ing as she sat by the win­dow look­ing out at the tree, which reas­sured her. This tree, even with its humanoid qual­i­ties, may not have under­stood all that was occur­ring dur­ing those years, but as it grew, it not­ed Anne and Peter’s increas­ing fond­ness for each oth­er — and wit­nessed the trag­ic end­ing when the Nazis arrived to take the fam­i­ly away, and years lat­er notes that only the father, returned. 

The wit­ness tree, always iden­ti­fied with Anne, lived many years longer. At last it grew old and with­ered away, wreathed by a host of acorns (its chil­dren, if you please) on the grass. The tree’s descen­dants grace the gar­dens of many chil­dren all over the world, recall­ing the tal­ent­ed young author who per­ished and per­haps remind­ing them to be fair-mind­ed and wel­com­ing to all. 

This is a rhyth­mic, grace­ful­ly word­ed, and sub­lime­ly illus­trat­ed reader.The only crit­i­cism is the author’s per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the tree as the moth­er of all those acorn chil­dren – a bit too Dis­ney. The pub­lish­ers rec­om­mend the book for read­ers from kinder­garten up but 7- 8 years old, would be a more log­i­cal rec­om­men­da­tion. It is a love­ly way to intro­duce the Anne Frank story.

Mar­cia W. Pos­ner, Ph.D., of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, is the library and pro­gram direc­tor. An author and play­wright her­self, she loves review­ing for JBW and read­ing all the oth­er reviews and arti­cles in this mar­velous periodical.

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