The Branch is a picturebook written by Mireille Messier and illustrated by Pierre Pratt. It is currently scheduled for release on September 6 2016. When an ice storm snaps a small girl's favorite branch from the tree in her yard, she's crestfallen. The girl's mom says it's just a branch. But not to her! “That was the branch I sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship.” Luckily, her neighbor Mr. Frank understands. He says the branch has “potential.” And so, with imagination and spirit, and Mr. Frank's guidance and tools, the girl transforms the broken branch into something whole and new, giving it another purpose, and her another place to treasure.
The Branch is a beautifully illustrated picturebook that inspires creativity and looking for solutions rather than dwelling on the bad things in life. The young girl used the now broken branch to climb and sit in the tree, it was her special perch. Without it she is at a loss. The neighborhood is working together to clean up after the storm, and her neighbor takes notice of her distress and works with her to find a solution. I like that the little girl takes part in the solution, learning how to use tools and help create a new use for the branch rather than the older gentleman just doing the project on his own. I loved the spirit of people working together, for no other reason than to be helpful and kind. This is a beautiful lesson that not only encourages a feeling of community, but also encouraging creativity, ingenuity, and hard work.