Friday, May 5, 2023

Spring Books Bring Trees & Frogs

Trees are leafing out and frogs are singing. Spring is bringing new life to woods and wetlands, and I’ve got two fun books to share for the season.

theme: life cycles, trees, frogs

A few years ago I reviewed a book by this author/illustrator team. I am so happy to share this new book about how the world’s tallest trees grow up.

Rise to the Sky 
by Rebecca E. Hirsch; illus. by Mia Posada 
32 pages; ages 5-10
Millbrook Press, 2023 

What is the tallest living thing? It’s not an elephant or a giraffe or even a blue whale.

You can probably guess, but you have to turn the page to confirm that it’s a … tree! But not just any tree. In this book, Rebecca Hirsch highlights eight of the world’s tallest trees – trees that grow at least as tall as the Statue of Liberty. That’s about 305 feet tall or, comparing to whales, about 3.8 Blue whale-lengths.

Rebecca shows how tall trees begin as small seedlings, sprouting from old stumps or growing from seeds. She tells how they breathe, move water and nutrients, and rise up, up, up to the sky.

What I like about this book: The text is fun to read and easy for young children to follow. And the back matter tells more about how trees grow, what phloem and xylem are, and how long tall trees can live. Rebecca also includes a couple hands-on activities at the back. But wait! There’s more! Mia Posada’s cut paper collages add amazing texture to the pages, making me want to stay and explore the illustrations. And, there is a great vertical book-turn to give these giant trees the space they need to Rise!

Where there’s trees, you might find tree frogs. At least in my neck of the woods. 

One Tiny Treefrog: A Countdown to Survival 
by Tony Piedra, illus. by Mackenzie Joy 
‎40 pages; ages 4 - 8 years
Candlewick, 2023

Ten tiny tadpoles grow in their eggs.

This is a fun count-down book that shows the lifecycle of a red-eyed treefrog.

What I like about this book: I love the expressive tadpole faces, the illustrations, the fun language – and the notes that identify the different animals by common name and scientific name. There’s also a fun book-turn so you can see the tadpoles plunge “plink, plink, plink” into their new, watery home. And I love that there is back matter! One section tells what it takes to become a red-eyed treefrog, with some additional “survival” notes about the different stages. A great book for any frog-loving kid.

Beyond the Books:

Create some cut paper art to show some of the nature you see outside. You might use watercolors to paint paper to use for your collages, like Mia Posada does, or snip your colorful bits from old calendars and magazines. 

Sit outside or open a window and listen to frogs. Don’t think you have any? I’ve heard tree frogs when standing in a restaurant parking lot in downtown Ithaca, NY.

How tall are the trees where you live? Here are some ways to figure out tree height.

Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies provided by the publishers.


  1. It is astounding to think about how tall our giant trees are, and the Statue of Liberty is a great way to reflect on their size. And it's brilliant to pair counting down with tree frog survival. I love the illustrations for both of these books. Thanks for highlighting these two in one post. There are so many terrific STEM books being published!

  2. Sue these are great books! I love them both. and wouldn't Leslie's DEAR TREE FROG pair so well with them! Thanks for highlighting them!