Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Little Guide to Trees (Eden Project)

A Little Guide to Trees (Eden Project)

Kate Petty, Jo Elworthy
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Transworld Publishers, 2011   ISBN: 978-1903919828

Though we often don’t take the time to realize this, trees are amazing organisms. Their leaves “are little factories” taking in water and carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. We breathe in this oxygen, which means that we have a very close tie to trees; we need them to survive. Trees also release water vapor, which make clouds and rain, and they give us wood, shade, and often food as well.

   In this book the authors provides readers with information about trees that will help children to develop a better understanding of trees, and therefore form a closer relationship with these remarkable plants.

   The authors begin be telling us what trees are and how they change as the seasons go by. Then they tell us how to plant a tree and how to measure one. The tree identification section comes next. We find out what many tree species (such as beech, birch, poplar, elm, and willow) look like throughout the year. We also find out what the trees’ blossoms, nuts, fruits, seeds, and leaves look like, what kind of animals like to eat the fruits and seeds, and how we humans use the trees to make things or to beautify our world.

   For example on the pages featuring the silver birch we learn that this species is very fast growing, but the trees don’t live that long. The leaves in summer are “fairly small with very pointy, toothed edges,” and in the autumn the leaves turn yellow. In the spring seeds grow on “catkins” which release millions of “small papery seeds” in the fall. Several bird species are particularly fond of eating birch seeds. The twigs from birch trees have long been used to make brooms, and the wood can be used to make paper.

   After the tree identification pages there is a section with mostly blank pages where readers can keep a record of the trees they encounter. The authors provide titles on the pages to help the reader get started. These include: “Favourite Trees,” “A tree of my own,” and “The biggest tree I ever saw.”

   Full of fascinating facts and information, and wonderful illustrations, this is a book that will give children the tools they need so that they can learn to appreciate and love trees.