The Ghost-Eye Tree is a children’s easy reading book that is big on visuals and not so much on text. Every page reveals a large, well-painted picture and a few lines of text. The story of the book revolves around a scary tree that lies on a moonlit path. Two children are asked by their mother to fetch a jug of milk from the dairy. Unfortunately for them, it is dark, cold and they have to walk past the scary tree to get there. Will they make it? Or will the eerie sounds and moving branches of the scary tree get them?
Why it is a fantastic adventure: The cover alone is enough to get your kids in the mood for a scary story. The first time I saw th e image of that tree something clicked inside my head. I’m not sure what that was, but since then I have been fascinated with Halloween, scary movies and the visuals of Tim Burton’s movies. I can not guarantee the same for your kids, but it is a very powerful image that will definitely last in some way.
The artwork inside of the book is done in watercolors, leaving a very Norman Rockwell-like feeling, although a tad less realistic. All of the characters have warm, rosy cheeks and realistic features. The artwork is a great way to get your kids used to looking at paintings as art. They also are a good starting point for a conversation about visual storytelling. It is not always about the written word.
The story itself is a bit foreboding, as seen in this sample:
I dreaded to go…
I dreaded the tree….
Why does Mama
always choose me
When the night is so dark
And the mind runs
The last stanza alone is enough to get your kids’ minds wandering. If you happen to have a large tree in front of you home, don’t be surprised if you’ll be putting up thick curtains over your kids’ bedroom windows.
The sense of dread and the fear of the unknown play strongly in this book. Your kids may be a little frightened, but hopefully in a good way that fosters creativity and a wandering mind.
Finally, the visuals are what matter. The outstretched limbs of the tree waving in the wind that look like they may reach out and grab you at any moment heighten the suspense of the story and will leave your kids wanting more of that haunted feeling.