The storyline is very simple. Miss Evans, a primary school teacher is taken ill, her health becomes progressively worse and she dies. Mr Banks asked the children all to write remember notes, and the caretaker, Stan, makes a tree out of copper wire and the remember notes are inscribed on copper leaves, hence The Copper Tree.
There are just enough words to tell the story and talk about people’s feelings in the face of illness and death in a way suited to children. Mandy Stanley has done the pictures – lots of them and just right for the story, filling the 32 pages of the book.
The aim is obviously to help young children come to terms with dying and grieving. The book will certainly be of help in such an event, but I hope that teachers and parents will use it with their children when there is no immediate cause for grief too. Death and dying can be treated as an uncomfortable taboo subject, and thankfully we face it much less among young people than a hundred years ago. But this book deals with the subject in a straightforward way, acknowledging people’s feelings while having lighter touches too. We recommend it.
Robinson, Hilary (2012) The Copper Tree
Strauss House Publications