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Willow and the Indian Trail Marker Tree Review by Adrienne Falkena

Cate Brusenbach
Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc.
123 S. Hough St.
Barrington, IL 60010

Willow and the Indian Trail Marker Tree is a paperback book by Cate Brusenbach. It is 8” x 10” and five chapters in fourteen pages and retails for $10.99 but is on sale right now for $9.99. The story is about a young girl named Willow who just wants to be with her friends for the summer, but her parents planned a camping trip instead. Once there, she quickly discovers how much she loves nature and spends time exploring it. She found an Indian Trail Marker Tree while exploring and finds herself drawn to it. Willow learns more about her mother’s love for nature and bonded with her mother in the process.

I set my kids loose with the book and found the age range 7-12 pretty accurate. My six-year-old proficient reader did well with it too. We talked a bit about the Indian marker trees and that was by far the most fascinating thing to discuss in the book. It does refer to Mother Nature as a proper noun uses a proper pronoun referral. I found this a bit off-putting, coming from a Christian perspective, but it encouraged conversation that was beneficial.  

Some of my kids really liked the book, and some weren’t as impressed. My younger ones seemed to appreciate it more. The underlying message is good, but the story doesn’t get very deep and that bothered my kids that were toward the older end of the range. I do think it could have been a longer story with more details to be learned about these special trees that Willow found, but it does refer to another book with more information to learn more. There are a few typos in the book, especially with punctuation.

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite. I found it pretty basic and wished it was developed into a longer story with more details and less simple dialogue. I did have to hide the book to be able to find it when it was my turn to read it, because it kept walking off, and still, I had to search when I needed it. It was read multiple times by several of my children. Because those children are great readers but still have early elementary comprehension levels, they needed the book to be simple. It suited them just fine. It has sparked a passion in all of my children to learn more and started more than one conversation about what we believe and why, so I’d consider it positive in the end.

-Product review by Adrienne Falkena, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018