If Trees Could Talk

Paul Kay Jr., illus. by Herv%C3%A9 Blondon. Vantage Press, $17.95 (26p) ISBN 978-0-533-16358-8
This paper-over-board book offers a tribute to trees, focusing on their interactions with and contributions to the human race. Written in the voice of a tree, the narrative is composed primarily of rhymed couplets with a less-than-precise meter ("From giant redwoods to the ancient Joshua Tree./ We are as diverse as the human family"). The poem mentions what some trees bear ("apples, oranges, maple syrup, and even grapefruit"), that "paper and boxes come from us," and that "You breathe in the air that we breathe out." Yet the book is short on substance, presenting information and analogies that seem either random ("Fall is when all of our colors are on display./ The Fourth of July is your colorful day") or strained ("We lose our leaves and people shed their skin./ This is our way of renewing again and again"). Balancing an auburn palette with bright green hues, Blondon's naïf, blocky illustrations add a note of whimsy, portraying trees from above and below, occasionally personifying aspects of nature, and emphasizing trees' strength and usefulness but also fragility. A well-intentioned ode to the interconnectedness of nature. Ages 4–8.
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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