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A Tree for Peter Review by Lori Hooten

Kate Seredy
Purple House Inc.
PO Box 787
Cynthiana, KY 41031

A Tree for Peter is published by Purple House Press. The mission of Purple House Press is to rescue long lost and well-loved children’s books from becoming obsolete. The stories they publish are wholesome stories that children love to read.


A Tree for Peter was written by Kate Seredy in 1941. It is a wonderful and engaging story about a young boy named Peter and is set in the Depression Era.


We first meet little Peter through the eyes of Tommy, a young boy on a train. As the train is approaching the city, they slow down as they pass Shantytown. Tommy sees a young boy standing in the rain. The young boy is lame, and Tommy feels the sadness and loneliness of the boy. Tommy’s parents don’t want him to see the dark and lonely Shantytown so they turn him away. But not before he smiles at the young boy in the rain and the boy smiles back.


As Tommy grows up, this encounter from the train window influences him. When he graduates high school, he chooses to become a builder. After graduating college, he begins work. He travels to the big city again to meet with one of the most successful builders there. On the way into town, Tommy expects to see Shantytown. Instead, he sees a bright, cheerful, lovely neighborhood that seems full of hope and joy. He is told that it is Peter’s Landing, named after the architect he is going to meet.


After spending much time with the architect and learning about how to build bright, cheerful homes full of hope for not much money, Tommy asks about Peter’s Landing. The story is one of courage and hope amidst the hardships of life.


Young Peter is afraid of so much and is alone for most of the time. His mother has to go into the big city to work and she gets home late and tired, so Peter has to take care of himself. One day he meets an older man who shows him how to be brave and to find courage.


In doing so, he equips Peter with what he needs to find hope in life. Peter then is able to talk with the big policeman who normally scares him. This new friendships changes Peter’s life significantly and hope begins to blossom. As one small change leads to another, hope spreads and lives begin to change. These changes bring about hope and hope brings about its own changes.


This hope brought about by courage and small changes is what this story is really about. Hope can begin as a very small thing but as it touches others, it grows. This growth can change a community, as is seen in this book. And sometimes, it can influence changes much, much bigger.


A Tree For Peter is my new favorite book. I have begun recommending it to everyone who asks. I have been blessed by this story and can’t wait to continue sharing it with others. It is first on our read-aloud list for the coming school year. It is such a wonderful story, full of hope and life, that it should be on everyone’s reading list.

 -Product review by Lori Hooten, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2018