Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Log’s Life

A Log’s Life

Wendy Pfeffer
Illustrator:  Robin Brickman 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2007   ISBN: 978-1416934837

In the heart of a forest there is a great oak tree. This oak tree is home to all kinds of animals. Among others there are squirrels, ants, a woodpecker, a porcupine, beetles, snails, and slugs. Little toadstools and other fungi grow in the damp places under the bark and  insects have burrowed into the wood.

Then one day a fierce storm with strong winds and bolts of lightning bring the great tree crashing down to the ground. It is a tree no longer and has become a huge log. Animals of all kinds rush to and fro. The squirrels move out. Ants and millipedes and termites move in. For though some animals have lost a home, others have gained one.

As the years go by more and more creatures take shelter in the great log. All kinds of living things grow, live and die in, on, and around the log. It is a little world of its own until, with the passage of time, the wood decays and softens and melts into the earth. Bit by bit the log rots away until it becomes one with the very earth of the forest.

This lyrical description of how a tree dies and has a second life as a log on a forest floor is both interesting and it serves to show readers how the animals and plants in a forest are interconnected and dependent on one another. Readers will see that a remarkable cycle is in place when  the passing of one great tree gives life to a new one just growing up on the forest floor. They will also see that a dead tree still has a purpose to fulfill for all kinds of creatures, and that a log is a beautiful place full of astonishing little natural treasures to look at and enjoy.

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