My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! I expected fantastic things after reading The Good Master and A Tree for Peter, but I didn't really expect this. We read this as our "fun readaloud" at the end of Whatchamacallit (Morning Time) and it was a hit with the children often begging for more into their break time.
The book shows a family, small at first, that expands and opens it's home in love during very troubled times. It is a place of shelter, peace, and joy. Friendships and hard work forge beautiful bonds and Seredy describes this beautifully.
The Singing Tree is a metaphor for beauty in the midst of chaos and is a poignant reminder in these difficult days. Father, Uncle Marton, Master Nagy is a bastion of strength and wisdom throughout the book - even when he is gone. Mother is a source of love and comfort, strength in a different way, always willing to open her home to more people - from extended family to Russian POWs to German children to others in need - and creatures alike.
I have rarely read more beautiful descriptive language - certainly not sustained throughout a book as Seredy's. Her metaphors and similies are spot on, her ideas are deep yet clear to the children being read to. The current action of the story is mirrored in the writing whether speedy, emphatic horse races or dreary, dark, unending nights. The darkness of war is clear, the joy of family was clear, the universality of mankind was clear. If there is a more needed message these days, I'm not sure what it is. Many chapters - and not only the final chapters - caused me to tear up or outright cry.
Highly, highly, highly recommended. I do recommend going through The Good Master first, although it isn't entirely necessary.
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