Minty wants to grow up to be in the roller derby. She and her best friend Paz (roller derby name Pax A. Punch) have been working on a routine that they plan to perform in the neighborhood fourth of July Parade. It is the summer before sixth grade and the girls have endless months before them to annoy their older sisters, practice roller skating, and go to the pool. When Minty spots a flash of light at the edge of the forest, she runs after it to see if it is the legendary Man Bat or possibly the witch from The Witch House. In the woods, she hears a low humming coming from a tree. She reaches her hand into a hole and pulls out a slip of paper with a message. This is the start of a summer very unlike the one Minty was expecting.
It isn’t long before Paz starts hanging out with older girls and leaving Minty out. Luckily, Minty has a new friend of her own, Raymond. Together they are trying to find out who the secrets in the tree belong to, and they start spying on the neighbors hoping to find clues. They want to help people by solving some of their problems created by their secrets. Can Raymond and Minty match each secret to someone from the neighborhood? Will they be able to help solve some of the problems that they have read about in the tree? Will Minty and Paz be able to repair their friendship? What is the secret that Raymond is hiding? Read this book and become enchanted by the secrets that await!
The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford is a book about the ups and downs of friendship and the secrets that we all keep inside. Minty is a character I could relate to because she is someone who enjoys being a kid and doesn’t really want things to change. My heart went out to her as she struggled with friendships that were in transition. I especially loved the advice her older sister gives her about middle school and friendships. I had fun trying to figure out who the secrets belonged to and found the detective work done by Raymond and Minty to be fascinating. The beginning of this book started off a little slow for me because I didn’t really know much about roller derby and there are many references in the first twenty pages. I stuck with the book, and I am glad I did! The rest of the book flew by, and I couldn’t wait to see how everything turned out. I recommend this book for kids in third through seventh grade. Kids getting ready for middle school will relate to this book and will connect to the characters. It makes you wonder what secrets the people around you are keeping!
Has anyone else read The Secret Tree? Or another book by Natalie Standiford? We would love to hear your thoughts?
A special thanks to Barbara Ann Watson! We won a copy of this book on her blog.
Happy Reading! ~L