Friday, May 29, 2020

Get to know the trees...

If you can’t get out for a walk in the woods, then check out these “armchair” forest walks. One takes you high into the tree tops, the other deep into the woods.

theme: trees, animals, habitat

The Forest in the Trees 
by Connie McLennan
32 pages; ages 4-8
Arbordale Publishing. 2019

Deep in the woods near a foggy sea, there’s a hidden forest in the trees.

Coast redwoods are the world’s tallest trees, stretching up, up, up nearly 380 feet into the sky. To get that high in a city, you’d have to climb to the 37th floor of a skyscraper. If you could climb up into a redwood tree, you’d find … more redwoods growing! New trees growing up from the branches of the old tree. And on those branches, soil collects, ferns and moss sprout – even elderberry shrubs take root. Salamanders and squirrels, butterflies and birds make their homes in this forest in the sky.

What I like about this book: It’s fun to read, with one level of text building layer upon layer using “the house that Jack built” structure. A second level of text is found in sidebar boxes, additional information for older readers and parents who want to know more about the animals and plants living high on the redwood’s branches. And there is back matter: four pages of activities and challenges “for creative minds”

Can You Hear the Trees Talking? Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest 
by Peter Wohlleben
84 pages; ages 8 - 10
Greystone Kids, 2019 (English reprint edition)

Let’s go on a journey of discovery. 

This book is a walk through the woods, broken into seven chapters. We begin by exploring how trees work, how they grow, then learn about friends and enemies, animals that live in and around then, and what makes trees awesome and important. Peter Wohlleben devotes each full spread to a single question: how do trees drink? Do trees make babies? Can they talk? What are trees afraid of, and are some trees braver than others? Do they sleep? Can they make it rain?

What I like about this book: It is a perfect mix of information and discovery. I love the one-question quizzes scattered through the pages, the “Look” sidebars inviting you to notice something, and the “Try This” activities that provide some hands-on STEM activities to explore the forest around you. I also love that the pages are edged in green, giving one the feeling of having fallen into the deep, deep woods.

Beyond the Books:

Play Tree Bingo. You can download these cards from Mass Audubon – or make up your own tree bingo cards for a family walk.

Go on a tree seed safari. Some trees produce fruit. Others make pods, or prickly balls, nuts, or samaras that helicopter to the ground. Some trees make their seeds in summer, others in fall. Check out what the trees in your neighborhood do.

Make a neighborhood tree guide. You might need to collect leaves to press, or draw pictures or snap photos … and you might even need a field guide to help identify the trees you find. But once you’ve gotten to know your neighborhood trees, figure out a way to share them with other people. Here’s one way.

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies provided by the publishers.

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