Author : Hans Christian Andersen (adaptation) Illustrator : Chooi Ling Keiong Publisher's Review : by Peter Duke
Written around 150 years ago by Hans Christian Andersen, The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree has not lost any of its poignant beauty for readers today. This version produced by Oyez!Books has been modernised and simplified for children of today but this has not in any way changed the central theme of the story. Indeed the illustrations by Chooi Ling have brought out the beauty of the story. She has captured each scene in the most alluring way with her art. The story commences with a broad view of ships lying at anchor in a small harbour as nearby the 365 year old oak tree spreads its leafy branches.
The story progresses through long the summer days with the dance of the may flies who live for just one day. Here, Chooi Ling has produced a scene of beauty and joy of a summer’s day.
Autumn arrives and the scene changes as the leaves begin to fall and the tree and the animals prepare for the long winter months. Then as winter arrives we see the tree standing in all its stark glory in a snowy landscape.
During the long winter months, the tree dreams of the many scenes that have been played out beneath its glorious boughs; happy scenes of knights and their ladies and lovers sitting in the shade of the the tree.
But the dream slowly changes as the old tree dreams it is rising high into to the sky reaching the clouds surrounded by all its old and new friends. Then disaster strikes. A major storm strikes, rages and up-roots the old oak tree, sending it crashing down.
After the storm there is peace and the sun shines across the waters of the harbour. But the old oak tree is no more.
Although the story will be enjoyed by children it has a deeper meaning for adults as it tells us about the cycle of life and gives hope that after the storm, there will be peace.