I feel very conflicted about It’s MY Tree by Olivier Tallec, so much so that I actually waffled on this fox rating between 4 and 3 for quite some time before finally settling. On the one hand, I genuinely do see this as an important book. The people who are going to relate to the squirrel’s desire to “protect his own” are the ones who desperately need to read and relate to how he feels in the end. Unfortunately, I think there are too many other “squirrels” who also know this “squirrel” and feel the same way, so they sort of make their own rotten community as they can. Thus, the message they could learn is one they might also ignore. Which brings me to my other point…I kind of hated this.
The current climate.
If the squirrel didn’t remind me so damn much of Trump and his ilk, I doubt I would have been so disturbed by this as a children’s book. I mean, I get its purpose. The whole book is set up to point out how the squirrel is hurting himself by being so damn protective of “his” tree and so unwilling to share it with outsiders. And while that is true of the Trumpists in love with their stupid wall idea and are resultingly actually hurting themselves by thinking that they need to keep others away from their “tree (country),” I don’t think they’ll be smart enough to actually recognize this fact?
It’s a great message. I don’t think it’s going to reach the people it needs to.
But then, who knows, maybe I’ll be wrong.
I felt uncomfortable.
The thing is, I agree wholeheartedly with books that do their very best to lead people who have horrible mindsets to realize the error of their ways and learn to be better people. I think they’re immensely important and helpful and I applaud anyone’s effort to create them. The best thing, in my opinion, that could come from this book would be if even one mind is changed on matters like this. Or, at the very least, if a young mind exposed to the problems of knowing someone who does agree with Trump reads this book and recognizes the errors of that adult in their life’s ways.
But, since the squirrel reminded me so damn much of Trump’s wall-loving moronic supporters, I hated him so much. And I wasn’t overly fond of the way the book made me feel sorry for him. At the same time, I do kind of feel like it is important for me to feel that way. So, again, conflicted.
Okay, the illustrations were adorable. They definitely pull you in. Cute, grumpy squirrels aren’t exactly what I picture when I think of the horrible people who came to mind while I read this, though. Ultimately, despite not really enjoying this book at all, I definitely see it as an important one. I hope it does good for the world.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.