The Owl Tree

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The Owl Tree is a novella by Jenny Nimmo which was released in 1997. The story is about a boy, Joe, who tries to save an owl tree which his grandmother Granny Diamond is fond of and her neighbor, Mr Rock, who intends to cut down as it is too tall and blocking out the sunlight beneath it. It received the 1997 Smarties Book Prize Gold Award.[1]


While their Mum is in the hospital , Joe and his sister Minna are taken to their grandmother, Granny Diamond's house to be taken care of until their parents return.

After showing Joe his room, Granny Diamond tells him about an owl tree outside the house which grows in her neighbor Mr Rock's lawn. She tells him how one night she had once seen an owl perched on one of the branches of the tree and it had cheered her up that day because she had been sad about something. Thus to her it is the owl tree.She also told that half of it is mine because some branches of that tree fall in her garden.

One day, Granny Diamond informs Joe that Mr Rock is planning to cut down the tree.Granny Diamond was very sad due to this, Joe begins trying to find a way to save the tree with the help of Minna and the Ludd twins and thinks that it is time for him to meet the owl in the owl tree because he is worried about how Granny Diamond will be affected if it is cut down. One day, Joe realises the tree is trying to tell him something so he goes to Mr Rock's house but becomes frightened and returns. Getting curious one night, he climbs the tree by one of its branches which is close to his bedroom window but then slips and falls into Mr Rock's garden. Mr Rock takes Joe back, causing a long argument between him, Joe and Granny over the tree but cannot be persuaded to keep it.

Later, Joe goes by himself to Mr Rock's house and talks to him personally. While talking, Mr Rock notices that Joe resembles his grandson, Tom. Suddenly, it occurs to Mr Rock that Tom also used to talk about some owl in the tree. Mr Rock gets emotional but still doesn't change his mind about the tree. Joe, knowing his stubbornness, goes back home. On the bonfire night, Joe sees Granny and Mr Rock standing near the hedge talking. Granny happily comes and informs Joe that the tree will not be cut. The story ends with fireworks.


Joe, Minna, Granny Diamond, Mr Rock, The Ludd twins, their dog Ludwig, Mom, Dad, The owl


The Book Trust describes The Owl Tree as 'An uplifting, award-winning story which reminds us not to judge people on first impressions.'[2] School zone finds it 'an extremely well written story which is an excellent read aloud.'[3] Trinity College London calls it 'An atmospheric, descriptive piece about discovering the secrets that might be held in the branches of a tree.'[4]

It was amongst the titles used in the 2011 Reading Crusade at Christchurch,[5] amongst books recommended for lower primary children by Paul Jennings.[6] and has appeared on numerous school reading lists.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "book reviews 3". Lauren Barker. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Owl Tree". Book Trust. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Booklist". ReadingZone. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Owl-Tree". Trinity College. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Reading Crusade 11 April - 23 May 2011" (PDF). OtautahiChristchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Reading Bug". Paul Jennings. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Years 3 and 4 Homework Help for Parents" (PDF). Buckingham Primary School. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Abingdon Prep School Middle School Suggested Reading; for boys entering Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 in September 2012" (PDF). Abingdon Preparatory School. Retrieved 29 March 2015.