The Branch

Mireille Messier
Pierre Pratt

When an ice storm snaps a small girl's favorite branch from the tree in her yard, she's crestfallen. The girl's mom says it's just a branch. But not to her! “That was the branch I sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship ...” Luckily, her neighbor Mr. Frank understands. He says the branch has “potential.” “What's potential?” she asks. “It means it's worth keeping.” And so, with imagination and spirit, and Mr. Frank's guidance and tools, the girl transforms the broken branch into something whole and new, giving it another purpose, and her another place to treasure.

In this endearing picture book, author Mireille Messier explores a young child's experience with loss and renewal. Though the little girl is heartbroken that her special perch in the tree is gone, the kindness and vision of her neighbor, combined with her own creativity and determination, help her recognize that it can have a new life in a different form. The charming intergenerational relationship adds depth and richness to the story, as it becomes clear they both offer something valuable to each other.
The story is vividly and warmly illustrated by renowned, award-winning artist, Pierre Pratt.

This book would work well for character education lessons on perseverance, teamwork and initiative. It also provides an excellent example of caring for the environment by reusing salvaged materials, making it a terrific pick for Maker Spaces and STEAM lessons.

978-1-77138-564-0 | Sep 6, 2016
List Price: USD $16.95, CAD $18.95
4-color 8 x 11 1/4 32 pages
Grades: PreSchool To 2 / Ages: 3 to 7
978-1-77138-762-0 | Sep 6, 2016
List Price: USD $9.99, CAD $9.99

Educational Resources

Awards & Reviews

“Brimming with personality and passion, this protagonist is a joy to know.”
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review, June 2016
“... a gentle reminder that keeping an open mind can help turn problems into opportunities.”
— Publishers Weekly, August 2016
“A quiet but powerful tale supported by a strong blend of words and pictures.”
— School Library Journal, September 2016
“... a small but satisfying story of intergenerational friendship, cooperation, creativity, and the labor that goes into creating something worthwhile.”
— The Horn Book Magazine, November 2016
“What a marvellous writer Mireille Messier is! She introduces us to a most memorable character whose take on life is charming and refreshing.”
— Canadian Children's Book News, October 2016
“... refreshing ...”
— New York Times, November 2016
“The vibrantly coloured illustrations complement the story and the warm friendship that grows between the grandfatherly Mr. Frank and the girl.”
— Resource Links, October 2016
“... a story of new life and the kindness of others.”
— Quill & Quire, December 2016
“... a story filled with hope.”
— CM Magazine, January 2017
2018 - Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2018 - Shining Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards, Short-listed
2017 - 2017-2018 Chickadee Award, Maine's Children's Choice Picture Book Award, Short-listed
2017 - Picture Book of the Year Award, Surrey Schools, Short-listed
2017 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2016 - Governor General's Literary Award, children's illustration, Canada Council for the Arts, Short-listed
2016 - Best Picture Books of 2016, Kirkus Reviews, Winner
2016 - CCBC Choices List, Cooperative Children's Book Center, Winner

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