June 21, 2013

Review: Eliza's Forever Trees by Stephanie Lisa Tara

Suddenly Mother jumped to her feet and ran to one of the trees, a three-hundred-foot-tall redwood. "Forever tree! Forever tree!" she cried, smiling. She swept the skinny girl up into her arms. The child's pale skin shimmered in the golden forest light. "Forever trees, forever trees," they sang, spinning in circles. The memory melted into the fog, and Eliza felt very tired. The question came again to her. It appeared out of the gray, out of the damp, out of the cold corners of this new house. The question whispered it always did the kind of whisper that sounded very loud indeed: Where had Mother gone? Shadows appeared and disappeared in Eliza's mind. Still, she couldn't remember. She simply could not remember anything after that last story in the forest. For some reason, she wasn't terribly worried. She was a little worried, for sure, but not terribly worried, because a strange calm held the shadows and the question. It held Eliza, too. Because love is forever.
Eliza is a ten year old with a bad heart. She's sickly, pale, and sad. For some reason, her mother disappeared and she is now living with her crazy old grandfather in an old cabin in the woods. Her mother was a librarian and the million books she had collected and read to Eliza are now in Grandfather's house being used as firewood, stepladders, material to cover roof holes, and other household uses. Eliza can't live this way---watching her beloved books burn, mildew and rot. Her new friend, Butterfly, is horrified also. Together they embark on a journey to find Mother Redwood Tree to find Eliza's mother. Along the way, they meet Owl, Auntie-Deer, a french-speaking squirrel, musical snakes, ladybugs and a host of other wonderful woodland creatures.

This story is a beautifully-written, lyric book similar to the old stories like Toad and Frog, The Velveteen Rabbit, and other young adult stories of animated, talking animals. The nurturing and mothering that Eliza receives from the animals and the love they offer to her make this book a must read for young people today. The voice that author Stephanie Lisa Tara uses to tell Eliza's story will bring tears to the reader's eyes and the last several chapters leave you breathless. Five stars for an awesome story!
Publisher-Stephanie Lisa Tara Children's Books®
Reviewer Rating: 5 STARS!!!
Reviewed by~Cindi

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