What a sweet, enchanting story! The language in Il grande albero
is clear and poetic. When describing birds flying south for the winter, Tamaro writes, "The birds had left their nests to meet the adventure of life." Later in the book, the fir tree is called a "grand, green cathedral." There were many, many moments like this: descriptions of things so common and simple, but leaving me breathless by such beautiful phrasing.
The fir tree shares with us its unique perspective on the world. From its height and throughout its long life, we watch as technology evolves, war breaks out, and familiar events in history unfold. Once the tree is moved to St. Peter's Square, Crik becomes the focus of the story. He is an endearing young squirrel with surprising determination and enormous empathy, a "humble creature ignited by love." He believes anything is possible; he does not accept the notion that fate is binding. His grandfather had taught him "a squirrel can always do something" - so Crik does.
I really hope this is eventually translated into English. Il grande albero
is the epitome of what British educator Charlotte Mason would call a "living book." For those of you who happen to read Italian, I highly recommend this book! Non-native speakers like me - if you're at least at an intermediate level, you'll be able to understand it well with minimal use of the dictionary.