Review: “The Singing Tree” by Kate Seredy

For the love of books

The Singing Tree is the sequel to The Good Master.  However, it turns aside from its prequel’s happy tones and emits resonating sadness. This is due to the gloomy atmosphere of World War I, as Jancsi’s father and every other Hungarian man are drafted into the army and Hungary changes forever.

Jancsi, Kate, and the remaining family members are left to tend to the farm, but hard times await everyone, especially the children.  Soon injured soldiers and refugees from different countries are lining up for help at Uncle Marton’s farm.  Can all of them live in harmony and make a home for themselves in this land of golden fields and colorful costumes?

The Singing Tree, like The Good Master, is a memorable tale for children to learn from by evoking powerful ideas of love and friendship through its text.  However, Seredy’s display of political correctness somehow hurts the novel’s content.  It is admirable that the author was consciously promoting world peace and friendship without prejudice, but she did apply this sentiment too fervently to the plot of The Singing Tree.

The story quickly begins to sound like a song about peace between all nations, the repetitive lyrics and melody replaying in one’s mind until the song’s significance is automatically tuned out.  As an innocent novel for children, The Singing Tree does come out as poetic and charismatic, but the story still gets too lost in the concept of “Christian brotherhood” that the author pushes her characters into.  This leaves the content of The Singing Tree undefined, its storyline more like an anti-war speech.  Nevertheless, Seredy is a fine storyteller, and she makes her novels so unique and artistic that a reader could never possibly forget their beauty or what they mean to children’s literature.

Original review: Part 3: Kate Seredy was a storyteller of unknown legends, Examiner.com

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