Book Review: Why Willows Weep – various authors

In the style of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, Why Willows Weep is a beautiful collection of short stories based on the anthropomorphisation of trees and their inhabitants. The volume consists of 19 tales; each penned by a different author, including some of Britain’s most celebrated writers such as Richard Mabey, Joanne Harris, Ali Smith, Salley Vickers and a contribution from Tracy Chevalier, who also edited the collection. Amusing, charming and poignant; each story tackles a different species and creates a backstory of how their unique attributes came to be, including ‘Why Birches Have Silver Bark’ and ‘Why the Yew Tree Lives So Long.  I personally found ‘Why Elms Die Young’ by Terence Blacker very emotive as it touches on the epidemic of Dutch elm disease, a reminder of just one of the tragedies our trees are currently facing. This heart-warming, easy to read collection can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike, with each story decorated with elegant illustrations by Leann Shapton.

Your purchase will also have a direct positive impact on British trees too, as each edition sold will enable the planting of one tree by the Woodland Trust.

Available from Indie Books, £10.95.

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