Peter and the Tree Children

Peter Wohlleben, illus. by Cale Atkinson. Greystone Kids, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77164-457-0
A lonely squirrel and an opinionated forester go on an idiosyncratic forest journey in this heavy-handed picture book. The plot—Piet, the squirrel, laments, “I am all alone. I don’t have any family,” and Peter, the forester, suggests that they search for “tree families”—awkwardly allows Wohlleben to revisit key themes from his bestseller, The Hidden Life of Trees, including tree communication and optimal forest management practices. Peter and Piet encounter heavy logging machinery that is creating muddy tracks and packing “the soil down so much that little trees can’t grow in it,” a sustainable forester using horses to drag logs, fragile saplings in a deforested area (their nice smell “means that the trees don’t feel so well”), and finally, butterfly-like beech “children” around a parent deep in the woods. Atkinson’s digitally rendered, non-naturalistic illustrations have a cartoonish sensibility that contrasts oddly with Wohlleben’s soulful feeling for the natural world. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/13/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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