Song of the Trees

This poignant story is set in Mississippi during the Great Depression. Its first person narrator, eight year old Cassie Logan, describes her close-knit African American family's struggle to survive. She also describes her joy in the family's forest, where the trees "sing" to her. While playing in the woods with her three brothers, Cassie learns that Mr. Anderson, an unscrupulous businessman, plans to pay the Logans a small fee for the forest and then cut down all the trees and sell the lumber for his own profit. The eldest brother, Stacey, rides off to bring Papa, who has had to leave home to find work, Papa returns and wires the trees with dynamite, threatening to blow up the whole forest unless Mr. Anderson leaves immediately. Realizing that Papa is willing to risk his own life to defend his family and thre trees, Mr. Anderson backs off and leaves the forest.

Word to Own

Finicky- fussy and extremely careful
Dispute- argument
Ambled- walked easily, without hurrying
Delved- searched
Curtly- rudely and with few words
Skirting- narrowly avoiding
Elude- escape by quickness or cleverness
Incredulously- unbelievable
Ashen- pale
Sentries- guards

Comprehension Questions

- Mr. Logan is away from the family because the only work he can find requires him to be away.
- The Logans are not poor because they are not willing to work, they are poor because it is the Great Depression and work is hard to find.
- Cassie loves the trees because they sing of their tales.
- Mr. Logan sets sticks of dynamite throughout the forest before talking to Mr. Anderson.
- Mr. Anderson and his men finally leave because they think Mr. Logan might blow up the forest.

Reading Skill

- Cassie believes that the trees are like human beings is the best generalization about her attitude toward the trees.
- Cassie learns that self-respect is more important than money after the incident in the forest.


-One important theme in the story is that personal honor is more important than wealth

Written Response

What do you think the most important theme of the story is. Use at least three examples from the selection that help show the importance of the theme you have selected.

Examples might include:

-Personal honor is more important than material wealth.
Cassie loves the trees and feels that the trees stop singing just before Mr. Anderson starts cutting them.
Mary Logan sends Stacey off to find his father.
David Logan rushes home to save his family from being taken advantage of by Mr. Anderson.