The Strange Wonders of Roots

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. May 2024. 304p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063287969.
Gr 3-6–Twelve-year-old Holly Foster is not excited about her summer break—she’s spending a month in a small Vermont town with an uncle she’s barely met while her mom takes a cruise and her dad tries for his big acting break. Holly is accustomed to moving around the country on her dad’s frequent whims, so she doesn’t expect to feel any attachment to the town of Arden. But when she learns that the Grove, a unique group of trees in town, might be chopped down to allow the local factory to build a museum, Holly gets involved in spite of herself. Griffith’s latest is quiet and character-driven. Readers get to know Holly, antiquarian Uncle Vincent, and a cast of interesting locals, ranging from a traveling musician to an elderly woman who takes her giant pet tortoise on walks. Holly, her family, and many community members default to white, though more diversity is seen among the group involved with saving the Grove. The story works on multiple levels; loner Holly must navigate new relationships and reexamine existing ones, all while learning about civic engagement and ecology. Holly provides some insight into trees from her science fair project and forges new connections in the local university’s forestry department to aid her cause. She observes the town council in action and, with the help of other concerned locals, plans a community event in the Grove to engage more citizens.
VERDICT Hand this book to young readers who love realistic fiction and want to save the planet.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing