Fantasy Young Adult

Billy Tree-Folks – Lawrence M. Nysschens

22 October 2019
Billy Tree-Folks Book Cover Billy Tree-Folks
Lawrence M. Nysschens
July 27, 2018

Don't Judge a Tree by its bark!
Walking the woods and the forests may never be the same.
Walking the city sidewalk you may wonder:
Was that a human being who passed by me?


Billy is a ten-year-old Tree-Folk being from another world and they have a similar physical structure to humans but glow with an almost ethereal appearance. This frightens humans, so to avoid attention they use a human shell to disguise their appearance and blend unnoticed. There are those humans that don’t want aliens to live on Earth so they hunt them and kill them. It’s not that they cause any damage, in fact, the opposite, they cultivate endangered plant life and trees to protect Earth. The hatred stems from just being different. Unfortunately, the Tree-Folk fled their home planet to escape war and death so their existence is precarious. They can regenerate through hibernation which is taking a birth-pod and placing it with a birth tree – the circle of life.

While this story is a beautiful tale, its conspicuous message is how entrenched and destructive the human race has become in its treatment of nature and the intolerant manner communities or nations handle other races and people, especially immigrants. With the story’s focus on Billy the child, these actions are much more disturbing and callous. What world are we creating for our children and what lessons are we teaching them with regards to encompassing diversity?

It’s also a story of family and how little infractions or misconceptions drive wedges through the closest relationships. How important is it to resolve personal issues before changing the world. For a 45 page novella, it packs a serious punch and also maintains an entertaining and intriguing story.

One issue that I can’t reconcile is essentially who the target reader is. The book is beautifully written but I felt it aimed at a younger audience. However, the incidents of shooting the tree-folk and leaving the bodies lying with multiple gunshots would be very disturbing for a child. Graphic incident aside, this would be a perfect book for a child recognising the inherent moral message.

It’s amazing how you get the opportunity to read books that would normally never come your way without an author, often self-publishing, reach out with a request. I would recommend reading this book and I’d like to thank Lawrence Nysschens for providing me with a free copy of his book in return for an honest review.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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