Chestnut Dreams


40 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 1-55041-545-X
DDC jC813'.54




Nikki Tate-Stratton writes novels for pre-teens; her latest books are
Jessa Be Nimble, Rebel Be Quick; Raven’s Revenge; and Tarragon Island.


This picture book begins with a story about Anya and her grandmother as
they observe the changes of a chestnut tree through the seasons. During
a walk, Baba explains that chestnuts are the seeds of the tree. Anya
can’t wait to start collecting them so Baba and Anya return to the
chestnut tree several times, but none have fallen. Anya’s impatience
intensifies until, during a storm, the horse chestnuts pelt down. Anya
collects 109 chestnuts and plays with them. After a night of
chestnut-inspired dreams, Anya plants the chestnuts in her back yard.

Each double-page spread shows the tree in a different season or from a
different angle. The most interesting illustrations are those where
Below has chosen a unique perspective, such as the bird’s-eye view
looking down at Anya from above a squirrel, or looking up at Anya when
her grandmother lifts her treeward.

An information section following the story provides facts about
chestnut trees and describes some uses for various tree parts. There are
illustrations of the chestnut tree life cycle as well as detailed
renderings of flowers and seeds. The book concludes with a glossary of

The stronger aspect of the book is the information section. The facts
are clearly presented and appropriate for young readers. The
illustrations are appealing and work well with the text. The story is
less satisfying. The use of language is not as crisp and vivid as it
could be and both the grandmother and Anya could have been more fully
realized characters. Recommended with reservations.


Below, Halina., “Chestnut Dreams,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 13, 2024,