The Secret Tree
"I said it out loud: 'No one loves me except my goldfish.' Back
in my bedroom, my own goldfish, Zuzu, circled the bowl on my dresser.
Every kid in the neighborhood had a goldfish. Mr. Jack, who lived
next door to Troy, owned a pet store, and he gave everyone a goldfish
on his or her birthday.
Anyone could have written that note. But who could be so
There are very few people who don't harbor at least one secret.
Chances are that includes your nearest and dearest, maybe even you.
Now try to imagine being given the secrets of everyone in your
neighborhood including friends and family and having to match the
secrets to the people to solve serious problems. That's the plight of
Minty, protagonist of Natalie Standiford's The Secret Tree.
One summer evening Minty and her best friend, Paz, see a flash
in the woods that border their street. She chases a boy size
creature. When she realizes he's escaped she's near a tree that
vibrates "like a hive full of bees." A hole in the tree holds a note
that says "No one loves me except my goldfish."
It's only the first of many.
"I'm so stoopid. Im affraid something is rong with my brane.
But I dont want anywon to find out or theyll kep me back"
"I put a curse on my enemy. And it's working."
"I'm betraying my best friend in a terrible way."
"I wish I had the guts to run away."
The mysterious stranger turns out to be a boy about Minty's age,
covertly occuppying an abandoned model home, part of a run out of
money development near the witch house on the other side of the
woods. He tells her about a spirit in the tree in whom people confide
their secrets, hoping they'll go away. He enlists her as a
confederate in spying to find out who each secret belongs to when she
tells him about her best friend suffering from mysterious symptoms,
possibly due to a curse placed on her.
The Secret Tree is a delightful summer vaca read for
intermediate grade kids, especially those entering middle school in
September. Despite the lingering dingy heaps of snow and imminent
storm prospects, it will be here before most of us are ready.
On a personal note, OMG! You would not believe the Orono Thrift
Shop's transfiguration. They were shut awhile allegedly for
painting. They did that and a whole lot more. The heavy old wooden
tables are gone. They've hauled in new glass ones from the going out
of business Macys up to the Bangor Mall. The whole place looks larger
and sunnier, like a boutique that could hold its own even in
Portland. But they have the same sweet, friendly ladies running it
and amazingly low prices. Talk about a win-win! If you're ever in
Orono, Maine on a day they're open you owe it to yourself to check the
A great big shout out goes out to the wonderful Orono Thrift Shop Crew.
Sent from my iPod