The Giggle Gum Tree by Juliet Williams and Elizabeth Botte

cover image

IpKidz, 2009. ISBN 9781921479182.
Lily and Amanda live in a very tall house made of purple bricks - it is so tall that it sways in the wind! Each day, they walk to school through the park and the path passes beneath a tree with beautiful draping branches that makes them giggle and puts them in a good mood for the day. They call it the Giggle Gum Tree. But not everyone likes the Giggle Gum Tree - Mrs Pritchet gets tangled in the branches and Mr Glumper trips over the roots that have broken the path. So they complain to the Tree Police and the girls are dismayed to discover a sign which says that the tree is to be chopped down in five days. They are no longer giggling. Quite by accident, they discover a plan that might save the tree and also the problem of their too-tall house - but will they be able to persuade the grown-ups to accept it?
Although the font is quite small, Miss 7 enjoyed reading this one and although she figured out what the girls' solution might be, how they achieved it brought a smile to her face.
The colourful illustrations are inspired by those in children's books of the 1950s and Miss 7 commented on the way the expressions of both people and creatures had been so well captured.
This is a story that really lends itself to a problem-solving exercise if you stop at the page with the sign and ask, 'Is chopping the tree down the only way to solve the problem?' Students will have fun letting their imaginations roam wild to find solutions and then comparing them to the answer that Lily and Amanda propose.
Barbara Braxton