The Copper Tree ISBN: 9780957124509
Published by Strauss House Productions, 2012
Olivia, one in a small class of children, tells the story in this sensitive and beautifully produced picture book about the death of a teacher. Miss Evans isn't well, but her supply, Mr Banks, explains that she will 'pop in' to see the class when she can. When she does appear, for the children's class play, she is in a wheelchair and wears a 'sparkly scarf' because she has lost her hair. The children are happy to see her and she them. When she can't come to sports day, Olivia writes to tell her all about it, and soon after comes the sad news that Miss Evans has died. Mr Banks talks to the class about feelings of sadness and anger, but reassures them that things will get better. Meanwhile, he suggests the children should think about ways to remember Miss Evans, and this results in each member of the class writing a single word 'thought' on a piece of paper. These 'thoughts' are then each inscribed onto a copper leaf to be hung on a copper tree in the school entrance hall. The tree sparkles and looks 'bright and beautiful' just like Miss Evans. We get to know this little class quite well, even to the class awkward child, Alfie Tate. There is gentle humour mixed with sadness, but there is also much positiveness in knowing that Miss Evans will always live on in the memories of her small class. This book could also be useful for other forms of bereavement.