Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems

Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems

Kristine O'Connell George
Illustrator:  Kate Kiesler 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Clarion Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0618752423

All too often we take trees for granted. We walk pass them without noticing their beauty, forgetting that they witness the many mini adventures that fill our lives. In this very special book we hear their voices, we see things from their point of view. We slow down and notice the small things, the little details in their lives. We come to appreciate them anew and to realize that they are there watching over us as we play, as we work, and as we explore our world.

For example we come to realize that there is a special magic in the way in which a tiny leaf is "rolled and folded / neatly packed" in a bud. We laugh as we read about the "major tree traffic" that is running along a tree's branches as squirrels carry out their daily chores. We smile as two plump horses find a way to share the shade that one tree gives. We watch as two children plant a baby blue spruce in their garden, a tiny tree that one day will "scratch the sky" with its branches.

Using a variety of poetry forms including free verse, rhyme and haiku, the author of this wonderful celebratory collection infuses her poems with every possible mood and emotion. She has an obvious appreciation for the way in which language can be used to give a poem rhythm, complexity and imagery.

This is the perfect book for all those wonderful people out there who love and appreciate trees.