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The Lorikeet Tree

"Set around an Australian forest, this shares a deeply moving, sublimely beautiful story of courage, loss and profound love."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Presented as Emily’s “What’s Going On or As it Happens” memoir assignment, Paul Jennings’ The Lorikeet Tree tells an extraordinarily moving story of loss, and love of the most profound kind.

Beautiful, gripping, and heart-in-your-mouth powerful, it explores the emotional turmoil of a pair of siblings as they struggle to cope with the imminent death of their dad against the majestic backdrop of an Australian forest — a place of dazzling lorikeets, and a very magical tree house.

Fifteen-year-old Emily and her twin brother Alex have already lost their mum in a car accident — which left Alex consumed by superstition — when they receive the devastating news that their dad has a terminal brain tumour. This compels Alex to renovate his treehouse: “When I add a new room it will bring good luck. For everyone. It never fails. Dad will get better. I know it.”

While Dad has always refused to let Alex have a “bird killing feline” (Emily’s words), he now asks Emily to make sure Alex has the kitten he’s been asking for. At the same time, Emily is alone with her misery, responsible for Alex, and torn between finding Ditto the kitten cute and knowing how destructive cats are to the birds of the forest she so loves. But she realises, “I was going to have to learn how to live with Ditto”, just as she’ll have to live with the reality of her dad’s death.

While an injured lorikeet gives Emily something to focus on (she’d found a “little, feathered soulmate”), she knows it will have to be released: “Letting go seemed to be a motif for my life” — and she’s also compelled to put her needs aside for the sake of her brother and dad.

Lucid, engagingly soulful and suffused in love, The Lorikeet Tree is storytelling at its most sublime. Rare is the writer who can handle such heavy subjects with such beauty, sensitivity and readability.

Joanne Owen

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