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Summary: This book takes you on a tour of the anatomy of a tree, in a story-like manner. The rhyming text is simple but interesting, and tells a bit about the root system, branches, bark, leaves, acorns, and life cycle of the tree, as well as an introduction to the residents of the tree, from a squirrel to the ants to the swing a little girl swings on. Learn about the growth of a tree and all of the ways it contributes to our world.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Reading Level: 2.9
Age of Child: Read with two boys, ages 3 and 5.
Young Reader Reaction: We all liked the book, and found that learning about the anatomy of a tree was interesting. I picked this the first time, but then the boys asked to read it again. Their reaction was as expected -- they enjoyed learning about a world familiar to them, where they could discover interesting facts that are not scary and yet expand their mind. They loved the pictures of all the animals.
Adult Reader Reaction: I liked the pictures, as they are realistic paintings that make great efforts to show biologically accurate depictions of the tree and animals while remaining artistic and interesting. I was less impressed with the text. There was an attempt at educating the reader on the biology of the tree and animals that loses some of it's potency by being forced into a rhyming scheme -- some of the text is less relevant and informative in order to maintain the pattern of rhyme in 2-line stanzas.
Pros: Great illustrations/paintings, wonderful subject matter, slight environmental message (life cycle of a tree) all combine in a book that is educational without being preachy.
Cons: Text strays from being as informative and accurate as it could be.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a great book that you will want to read many times, and might be a good addition to a home library. I would not call this a "favorite" story for most children -- maybe there are some budding naturalists reading picture books, but for most kids the interest will wane. Borrow from a library for a great read, or buy and pass it on to a friend.
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