Book Review: Somebody Else’s Nut Tree

Review cross-posted on our sister site, Caterpickles.

Somebody Else’s Nut Tree and Other Tales From Children by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak

Somebody Else's Nut Tree and Other Tales From Children
By Ruth Krauss
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
Linnet Books, 1990
(First published by Harper & Brothers, 1958)
Age Range: 4-10

Somebody Else’s Nut Tree is a book unlike any other on our shelves

Somebody Else’s Nut Tree by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak is nearly unique on our bookshelves in that it does not contain stories written for children by adults, but stories told by children to adults, or rather, one particular adult. As you might guess, we are rather fond of it for precisely that reason.

The Four-Year-Old likes it because the sometimes random segues in the stories make perfect sense to her, and I like it because it gets my daughter thinking about writing down some stories of her own (as opposed to simply telling them to her kitten class during storytime).

This book was written in the 1950s though. So did it age well?

Often books written in the 1950s use terms that are outdated today (to say the least). This one isn’t too bad, as you might expect for a book authored by children (and edited by a careful adult). Stereotypes about Native Americans are alive and well in one story, so you will want to be prepared to address them with your child.

Some of the stories are really endearing

I find some of the stories pretty endearing, such as the one in which the beautiful debutante sucks up all the oxygen in the ballroom, or would, except that the other little girls at the ball didn’t care how beautiful the debutante was because they had such warm bathrobes. And the story in which the rainbow cracks and sprinkles happy spots all over the house beneath it. Other stories are funny, and some are just strange. But they all sound like children, and most of them, like children I know.

Once was enough for my daughter though

While I love this book and would read it over and over if I could, The Four-Year-Old is less enthused. When I pull it out, she listens to it with a smile. But when I’m done, she doesn’t want to read it again.

In part, I think this is due to the illustrations. They are classic Sendak, and drawn in a simple pen and ink style that pairs well with the simple storylines. They are black and white though, and The Four-Year-Old tells me that she would have preferred them to be in color.

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