Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree

Mary Murphy. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1470-3
Wonder and significance permeate this catalogue of the essence of natural things: “A tree has leaves that turn sunshine into tree food. Amazing!... Only a tree knows how to be a tree.” Wending from trees and dogs to birds and fish, and escalating up to the Earth itself, Murphy offers each item an affirmation of singularity: “There are countless stars in the universe and many, many planets. But Earth is our home. Only Earth knows how to be Earth.” After celebrating the specialness of “every comet, flower, cat, and beetle,” Murphy pivots to humans: “As for people, there are billions of us... Every single person is different. And only they know how to be them. Only I know how to be me. And only you know how to be you.” Bright, chunky illustrations evoke children’s drawings, depicting figures of various skin tones, some wearing glasses, some using wheelchairs, playing in an irreplaceable world. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/13/2020
Release date: 03/10/2020
Genre: Children's
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