Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, LLC
Tan Tan is an angry rich boy who loves his Shady Tree. He lives in a big house and loves to play under the shade of the tree with all of his toys, but then Ping shows up. Tan Tan does not like Ping and tells him to leave. Ping gets the idea to buy the shade from the beautiful tree and Tan Tan agrees to sell Ping the shade because he thinks Ping is being silly. But Tan Tan slowly learns that this was a mistake as Ping invites his friends (and their animals) over to sit with him in the shade of this magnificent tree. Slowly making his way through the house, Ping realizes that the shade moves in and out of different places. Finally, Tan Tan decides to move far away to a house with no shade, no trees . . . and no friends. Ping then moves into the big house with all of his friends. Ping is kind and never turns anyone away wanting to rest, sing, or dance under the Shady Tree, including Tan Tan, who is runs back to join the fun.
The Shady Tree is beautiful, heartwarming, and a wonderful book filled with wonderful things. The artwork alone is stunning, and the Shady Tree and the big house are perfectly portrayed in the illustrations. Not only was the art phenomenal, but from the first page readers are sucked into this story, wanting to know if little Tan Tan will soften his heart and let Ping into his home. Tan Tan does let Ping into his home, just not in the way readers expect. And when all seems lost for Tan Tan, he goes running back to his big house to find all the friends he could imagine welcoming him into their arms. Many readers will enjoy this book and its beautiful message. An absolute page turner, especially once Tan Tan moves away and readers are anxious to know what will become of him. Tan Tan ends up with all of the friends he could ever need or want and Ping ends up with the Shady Tree, both learning a valuable lesson of friendship and kindness.