Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Tree in the Ancient Forest

The Tree in the Ancient Forest

Carol Reed-Jones
Illustrator:  Christopher Canyon 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Dawn Publications, 1990   ISBN: 978-1883220310

If you saw the huge tree in the ancient forest, you might not realize that it provides numerous creatures with a home and food sources. Look carefully, sit still and listen, and you will discover that creatures large and small live in and around this three-hundred-year old fir tree.

Little voles eat truffles that lie hidden in the soil around the great tree's roots, and when night falls, a great owl hunts the voles. The owl lives in a hole in the big tree, raising its babies there. This warm dry home was excavated by a woodpecker, which runs up and down the tree snapping up ants hungrily.

Written in a style that is reminiscent of the rhyme, This is the House that Jack Built, this picture book shows young children how one great tree is a vital part of an ecosystem. The animals and plants that live in and around the tree depend on it, and in some ways, the tree depends those plants and animals as well. In addition to introducing children to the idea of interdependence between species, this book also touches on many aspects of ancient forest biology, and on the pressing need to preserve these precious ecosystems.