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Review: The Worry Tree by Marianne Musgrove

The Worry Tree by Marianne Musgrove
Published by Catnip
Source: Review Copy

Juliet’s a worrywart, and no wonder! Her little sister, Oaf, follows her around taking notes and singing “The Irritating Song” all day long. Her parents are always arguing about Dad’s clutter. Nana’s so tired of craft lessons that she starts barbecuing things in the middle of the night. And Juliet’s friends Lindsay and Gemma are competing to see which of them is her best friend. Juliet can’t fit in any more worries! But then she makes a remarkable discovery. Behind the wallpaper in her new bedroom, Juliet uncovers an old painting of a very special tree. Nana remembers it well: it’s the Worry Tree, and with the help of the Worry Tree animals, Juliet just might be able to solve some of life’s big problems.

I don't read a great deal of books aimed at younger readers and spend a lot more time on those aimed at A YA audience but in this case it was worth making the exception. I loved the worry tree and thought it was a beautifully written and poignant novel which has a lovely message to get across to youngsters.

The Worry Tree revolves around Juliet. Juliet is a worrier. She worries about her sister bothering her all the time, about her grandmother falling and hurting herself, about the school bully, about her parents and more and deals with her worries by sorting and collecting things obsessively (which is why I reckon Non, who is Catnip's editor, sent it to me. It was like reading about my younger self).

Juliet is offered her own bedroom and when she moves in and starts to decorate she finds the worry tree behind the old wallpaper. Her grandmother explains the purpose of the tree and the animals that surround it is to serve as a place to hang all your worries on before going to bed so that you don't have to worry about them anymore and can sleep soundly. Over time this allows Juliet to manage her worries meaning she doesn't have to carry the burden of them around with her day to day. I loved the moral of this and the message it had for youngsters especially in an day and day when children are tested and put upon from an early age if nothing else but government sponsored testing in school.

This side is balanced out with a host of comical character and funny scenes which would engage most youngsters quite happily in the storyline. The family itself were both loving both totally bonkers in themselves with the mad scientist dad, the crazy younger sister and the clever but frustrated grandmother.

Certainly a book I recommend and one I think would be an invaluable resource for primary school teachers covering PSHE lessons in class especially as the back of the book has sections for children to write down their own worries. A fab and highly recommended read.


serendipity_viv said…
I am glad to read you loved it too. It is definitely one to use in the classroom.
Anonymous said…
Aww lovely. I really want to read this too.
Chrystal said…
I'm a worrier by nature, perhaps I should read this book. ;)
Ooh! Sounds like a really good idea for a story, fab review :D