Stretch To The Sun: From A Tiny Sprout To The Tallest Tree On Earth (Carrie A. Pearson)

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Hello, friends! Our book today is Stretch To The Sun: From A Tiny Sprout To The Tallest Tree On Earth, written by Carrie A. Pearson, illustrated by Susan Swan, a look at the life of a coast redwood from seed to mighty tree.

An older redwood, at the end of its life, is blown down by a storm; yet from it, new life begins. This tiny seed takes root in the remains of the older tree, putting down roots and shooting up sprigs, then leaves, then branches. Over the course of hundreds of years, the tree grows taller and taller, creating new ecosystems within its towering trunk and branches and forming a canopy over the forest with other tall trees. Escaping loggers due to its size, the tree remains standing to this day, a testament of the lifespan of such incredible trees, and a reminder that every big thing starts from something small.

Very interesting. The meat of the text looks at the details of how a redwood forest ecosystem fosters the growth of a new tree: the way leaves decay into soil, animals deposit seedlings that grow into symbiotic plants, weather creates rain, sun, and fog that nourish the plant. Generous use of onomatopoeia keep the text from becoming too dull for small readers, and some lovely illustrations, including two clever vertical spreads, gives a sense of scale. The backmatter is informative, and the length overall is fine. Make no mistake, this is a fairly slow storyline, but succeeds in its goal at creating a sense of reverence and respect for these incredible trees. JJ enjoyed it, especially the sound effects, and we can recommend this one, especially for readers hoping to learn more about redwood trees. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Things That I Love About Trees (Chris Butterworth)

Hello friends! Our book today is The Things That I Love About Trees, written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Charlotte Voake, a meditative ode to trees throughout the seasons.

A little girl and her friends spend time throughout the year playing among the trees and appreciating what makes them so lovely in each season. In the spring, their buds and blossoms begin to start, and change is in the air. By summer, their leaves are full and shady; in autumn, they turn every color and begin to fall. And in winter, they are quiet and still, and you can see all the way up to their tops. In addition to the girl’s musings, the reader is also treated to facts about trees on each page, so they can find their things to love about trees as well.

Informative and stunningly illustrated. While the story structure and contemplations of the girl hit fairly familiar beats on the subject, the intricate, sweeping art is what sets this book apart. The trees are so sumptuous and splendidly illustrated that it feels as if you can see them moving in the breeze, or hear the whispers and cracks of their branches, leaves, and bark. The factoids are fun too, providing basic trivia on trees and their seasonal cycles for little bookworms. The length is fine, and JJ loved the art. Equal parts science and poetry, and we enjoyed it very much. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Lumberjack’s Beard (Duncan Beedie)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie, a funny yet sweet story of friendship and conservation.

Jim Hickory the lumberjack lives a simple life, following a comfortable routine. Each morning he wakes, limbers up (limbering is important for lumbering, you see), then eats a tall stack of delicious pancakes. Then he heads out into the forest and chop-choppety-chops down all the trees he can. After a full day of chopping, he is surprised to find a bird at his door, angry that Jim had chopped down a tree that held his brand-new nest. A decent sort, Jim offers to let the bird nest in his fine, full beard – and that’s where the trouble starts. More animals are showing up at Jim’s door in need of a place to stay, and soon his beard is full of guests and his routine is in shambles. He evicts his tenants, shaving his beard and leaving the hair on the porch for them to continue living in. Yet now, looking at his clean-shaven face and the barren landscape around him, he begins to wonder how he can help them even more…

We really liked this one! It’s a fun, silly story without an ounce of meanness: the animals are righteous in their dismay, and Jim is generous and kind, doing what he can to help them. By the end, he and the animals have formed a close friendship that has allowed him to adjust his perspective, and he sees the importance of replacing the trees that he’s cut down. It’s a fresh way of presenting conflict, not as one party versus another, but instead two parties adjusting to accommodate the other. The illustrations are adorable, and Jim and his furry friends are sure to delight, especially for kids with bearded men in their lives. The length is great, and JJ loved it. This one will make you smile, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Up In The Leaves: The True Story Of The Central Park Treehouses (Shira Boss)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Up In The Leaves: The True Story Of The Central Park Treehouses, written by Shira Boss and illustrated by Jamey Christoph, a sweet story of a boy’s creativity and love of trees shaping his destiny.

Bob had never been a huge fan of the city life: the noise, the traffic, the crowds. So after school, he would head straight to Central Park and climb up into the trees, where the air was clearer and quieter, and he could be by himself in the middle of a bustling city. At 13, Bob salvaged some scrap supplies and built a small treehouse where he could go to be alone, but the park officials found it and tore it down. As the years went by, Bob continued to build treehouses, each more elaborate than the last, often inviting up friends or spending nights gazing at the stars. Finally, as a young man, he was caught in the red-handed in his latest structure, and told to come down and face the consequences. But as Bob descended his treetop palace, he found not a punishment, but a welcome surprise waiting for him.

What a delightful little true story! Bob’s understanding of trees as well as his incredible tree-climbing skills eventually earned him a job as an arborist. It’s a nice lesson in how being ourselves and following our passions can guide us to what we are meant for. There is some flouting of authority and some questionable life-planning near the end (Bob was living in the treehouses part-time and had no plans for his future – he lucks into his job path due to the impressed park workers recommending it to him), but the intention is that of inspiring dreamers to find their field. The illustrations are lovely, creating a realistic yet wondrous world of Bob’s treehouses and the feelings they inspired in him. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed it, so this one’s Baby Bookworm approved!

PS – You can enter to win a copy of this book on our Facebook page!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

It Starts With A Seed (Laura Knowles)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the absolutely lovely It Starts With A Seed, written by Laura Knowles and illustrated by Jennie Webber, the gorgeous and informative tale of a seed growing into a mighty tree.

A “helicopter” sycamore seed flutters down to the ground, and here our story begins. As the illustrations show the seed taking root, growing shoots then branches then leaves and bark, the rhyming text describes each stage of the new tree’s life cycle in poetic verse. At last, a mighty sycamore has grown, providing shelter to a plethora of woodland animals. Finally, as the tree grows and disperses seeds of its own, the story of a seed begins again.

What a positively charming book! While the seed-to-tree story has certainly been done before, the combined effort put into this quietly majestic version makes it a standout. The text flows beautifully, giving the plot a weighty yet soothing feel, like a cozy blanket. The pen-and-ink illustrations are finely detailed in a realistic style reminiscent of nature guidebooks, and bring the tree, its features and its inhabitants to fascinating life. Even the quality of the paper and binding fit the tone of the book, which will leave little readers appreciating the full life lived by every tree. The length was perfect, and JJ and I both loved it. Absolutely Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)