The Singing Tree

by Kate Seredy
247 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by emmanem

Wonderful, clean story, though sadder than its prequel.


In this action-packed sequel to "The Good Master," set in Hungary, Jancsi and Kate are growing up; Jancsi is becoming a "Good Master" himself and Kate is growing out of her tomboyish stage and beginning to care more about her looks than her adventurous side. When World War I begins, the family, along with everyone else around them, are devastated and many of their loved ones are lost; but they learn to face their struggles bravely.


Sometimes Kate doesn't listen to the adults, but she is usually punished. The main focus of the story is how Jancsi, Kate, and their friend Lily grow up in the midst of the first world war, and courage, strength, and kindness are shown.

Spiritual Content

The characters all profess Christianity and the values portrayed are supported in Scripture. "Silent Night" is sung at one point, and Christmas plays a role. However, Christianity is by no means the primary focus of the book.


The war is taking place, but is not described graphically. This story is more serious than "The Good Master"; several characters do die and it is by no means happy-go-lucky.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content



A wonderful companion to The Good Master; it is much like the prequel in style, but sadder. The point it primarily makes is one for peace and tolerance in the world, which, considering its historical setting, is not surprising. It makes a good read-aloud in a setting where some of the points of prejudice and racism (which are, of course, not condoned) can be discussed.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 11-12

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