'Wishtree' is the story of Red, an Oak tree who has served as the Wishtree for her neighborhood for many years. A wishtree is a tradition where people may write a wish on a cloth once a year and hang it on the branches of a tree in the hopes that it will come true.
Red has never actively participated in the granting of a wish before, but she is touched when a young girl, recently moved into the neighborhood, wishes for friendship. Red witnesses how the young girl faces prejudice and indifference on the street and, when threatened with being taken down as a nuisance, Red decides to take action while she can.
This story could easily have been saccharine drivel, but Applegate's writing delivers the sentiment without making it too cloying. At its heart 'Wishtree' is a novel about compassion and acting on our better instincts and refusing to let the bad behavior of some dictate the future for everyone.