Marvelous Plasticine illustrations may initially distract young readers from the thought-provoking text in Picture a Tree. Using a combination of Plasticine and paint, Ms. Reid has created beautiful, richly detailed images of trees and the variety of people living, working and playing near them.
Readers are encouraged to notice how trees, whether enormous or freshly planted, change through the year, how various creatures dwell in trees and how the life cycle of a tree can be viewed metaphorically. A variety of perspectives are also shown as Ms. Reid illustrates shadows of trees, more than one reflection and the view from above a forest of trees.
You may see a drawing on the sky. A game of dress-up. The first drops of colour then all the art supplies at once.
Simply beautiful, Picture a Tree is sure to inspire young artists and encourage environmental awareness. It is suitable for children aged four and up.
Update June 19, 2012 – Picture a Tree has been nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
Are you aware of the United Nations’ Billion Tree Campaign?
It is a campaign that encourages people all over the world to plant trees that are indigenous and appropriate to our own environments. By the end of 2009, more than seven billions trees had been planted in more than one hundred seventy countries.
One cannot overstate the value of trees to our very existence. Trees and forests contribute to our health, wealth, food and fuel supplies as well as air, soil and water quality and climate stability. Today’s post pulls together some resources related to trees and the campaign to plant them.
Beginning with a bright, cheerful introduction to trees and what they do for our world:
We Planted a Tree – written by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Bob Staake
Young families in Brooklyn, New York and in Africa each plant a tree. As their trees grow, this inventive and beautiful picture book takes us to visit beautiful trees budding in Toyko and gorgeous bright, pink blossoms in Paris.
“The sun kept shining.
The pink blossoms dropped off,
But soon there were green leaves,
Green, green shiny leaves,
Which had food inside for the tree.
This joyous celebration of trees and the impact of planting just one, highlights that they can be a source of food and shade, they help to clean our air and they can prevent soil erosion. As well, readers learn that trees are home to birds and animals.
This picture book connects nicely with Green Belt Movement Kenya. The mission of the Green Belt Movement (GBM) is to mobilize community consciousness- using tree planting as an entry point – for self-determination, equity, improved livelihoods and security, and environmental conservation.
For additional information about tree planting, check out The Green Wave, The Green Wave is a multi-year global campaign that enables children and youth to make a difference – one school, one tree, one step at a time. The Green Wave brings together children and youth from around the world to raise awareness about biodiversity, and the need to reduce its loss.
The United Nation’s Billion Tree Campaigna worldwide tree planting initiative facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme. People, communities, businesses, industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges on-line. The campaign strongly encourages the planting of indigenous trees and trees that are appropriate to the local environment.
Plant a Tree Today(PATT) Foundation works to raise awareness of global environmental issues, campaign for better environmental practices and take action against deforestation and climate change by planting trees.
“Once there was a grand old tree. Her roots sank deep into the earth, her arms reached high into the sky. She was home to many creatures.”
Lovingly written and illustrated, A Grand Old Tree is a wonderful tribute to an aging fruit tree. We watch as squirrels scamper, birds chirp and bees buzz in the branches of the tree. Through the seasons, we witness her bloom and produce seeds to blow from her branches. We consider how many leaves she has produced.
One moonlit winter night, she falls. Snow covers her weary trunk and branches. When spring arrives, we can see her offspring growing nearby and we know her decaying trunk is still home to raccoons, insects and lichen. We appreciate her legacy and understand that her children and grandchildren are now growing, flowering, and sowing.
Both informative and quietly reassuring, this is a picture book children will enjoy again and again.
Note: there is a concrete poem (the text is printed to represent the trunk of a tree) in the book.
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