Be Thankful for Trees: A Tribute to the Many & Surprising Ways Trees Relate to Our Lives (Harriet Ziefart & Brian Fitzgerald)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Be Thankful for Trees: A Tribute to the Many & Surprising Ways Trees Relate to Our Lives by Harriet Ziefart and Brian Fitzgerald, a wonderful look at the integral part that trees play in all of our lives.

What would life be without trees? Well, just think of all the things we wouldn’t have if there were no more trees. There wouldn’t be cellos or pianos for music, and there wouldn’t be tree fruits or nuts to munch. There wouldn’t be homes for owls or birds, or paper to make art or books, or lumber for dining room tables or comfy chairs. Trees give us so much, and that’s why we must protect them, especially from man-made threats.

Fantastic! This loving ode to the many gifts given to humanity by trees manages to condense a great amount of concepts and information on our leafy pals into a charming and fun-to-read book. Ziefert’s bright, rhyming text makes for a quick read, despite the longer page count, and utilizes engaging elements like repetition to draw in young readers (JJ was gleefully parroting the repeated phrase “It would not!” by the third use). Fitzgerald’s digital illustrations capture an incredible range of atmospheres, from peaceful to dynamic, and feature a very nice diversity of skintones, ages, and body types. The length was great for an elementary storytime, and JJ loved it. Overall, this is a great way to begin a conversation on the importance of trees, and the importance of protecting them. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Some Questions About Trees (Toni Yuly)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Some Questions About Trees by Toni Yuly, a sweet and simple book about the mysteries of trees.

A child in a green dress peers out a window, wondering where trees live: on the earth where their roots connect, or in the sky, where their branches stretch? Each following question is equally pondering – what is the “heart” of a tree? Are some trees shy? Do tiny trees dream of being big? One thing is for certain: trees are marvelous mysteries, and ones that are wondrous to explore.

Short but cute. This gentle collection of childlike musings about trees uses simplicity in both story and visual style to craft a peaceful meditation on nature. Celebrating both trees themselves and our connection to them, open-ended questions like “When I plant a tree, are we family?” personifies trees in a way that inspires empathy while inviting to reader to consider what the answer might be. The mixed-media art is spare, utilizing white space and innocent character designs to fit the theme well. The length is good for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed it. This is a very simple book, yet manages to inspire some deeper considerations – and appreciations – for trees. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Trees (Tony Johnston)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Trees, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Tiffany Bozic, a gorgeous and enchanting ode to, well, trees.

What is more perfect than a tree? Gentle, spare free verse poetry leads readers through various musings on the wonders of trees; their love of the sky, the way they provide the perfect perch for songbirds, the wonder of their leaves and bark and the shade they provide. The way they invite us to climb, to sit under them with a good book, or simply to bask in the calm and peace of their spring blossoms.

A stunning ode to the simple magnificence of trees. The star of the show is Bozic’s absolutely jaw-dropping realist paintings of various trees, their environments, and the fauna that interacts with them. The details, colors, framing, and perspectives are all absolutely astounding, and readers can practically hear the rustle of the leaves in Bozic’s incredibly lifelike trees. Johnston’s sincere and earnest verse fits the tone perfectly, adding just the right amount of lyrical depth but knowing when to step back and let the visuals of trees themselves be the focus. This also makes this the perfect title for any age – the text is simple enough for even very young readers, and the art will astonish bookworms young and old. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ absolutely adored the artwork. An awesome way to appreciate the singular beauty of trees, and Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Stretch To The Sun: From A Tiny Sprout To The Tallest Tree On Earth (Carrie A. Pearson)


Hello, friends! Our book today is Stretch To The Sun: From A Tiny Sprout To The Tallest Tree On Earth, written by Carrie A. Pearson, illustrated by Susan Swan, a look at the life of a coast redwood from seed to mighty tree.

An older redwood, at the end of its life, is blown down by a storm; yet from it, new life begins. This tiny seed takes root in the remains of the older tree, putting down roots and shooting up sprigs, then leaves, then branches. Over the course of hundreds of years, the tree grows taller and taller, creating new ecosystems within its towering trunk and branches and forming a canopy over the forest with other tall trees. Escaping loggers due to its size, the tree remains standing to this day, a testament of the lifespan of such incredible trees, and a reminder that every big thing starts from something small.

Very interesting. The meat of the text looks at the details of how a redwood forest ecosystem fosters the growth of a new tree: the way leaves decay into soil, animals deposit seedlings that grow into symbiotic plants, weather creates rain, sun, and fog that nourish the plant. Generous use of onomatopoeia keep the text from becoming too dull for small readers, and some lovely illustrations, including two clever vertical spreads, gives a sense of scale. The backmatter is informative, and the length overall is fine. Make no mistake, this is a fairly slow storyline, but succeeds in its goal at creating a sense of reverence and respect for these incredible trees. JJ enjoyed it, especially the sound effects, and we can recommend this one, especially for readers hoping to learn more about redwood trees. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Things That I Love About Trees (Chris Butterworth)

Hello friends! Our book today is The Things That I Love About Trees, written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Charlotte Voake, a meditative ode to trees throughout the seasons.

A little girl and her friends spend time throughout the year playing among the trees and appreciating what makes them so lovely in each season. In the spring, their buds and blossoms begin to start, and change is in the air. By summer, their leaves are full and shady; in autumn, they turn every color and begin to fall. And in winter, they are quiet and still, and you can see all the way up to their tops. In addition to the girl’s musings, the reader is also treated to facts about trees on each page, so they can find their things to love about trees as well.

Informative and stunningly illustrated. While the story structure and contemplations of the girl hit fairly familiar beats on the subject, the intricate, sweeping art is what sets this book apart. The trees are so sumptuous and splendidly illustrated that it feels as if you can see them moving in the breeze, or hear the whispers and cracks of their branches, leaves, and bark. The factoids are fun too, providing basic trivia on trees and their seasonal cycles for little bookworms. The length is fine, and JJ loved the art. Equal parts science and poetry, and we enjoyed it very much. Baby Bookworm approved!