cover image Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book

Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book

Britta Teckentrup. Doubleday, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-101-93242-1

A apple tree stands bare in the still of winter, its solitary occupant—an owl—peering out from a die-cut hole in the center of its trunk: “Owl sits watching in his tree.../ No one sees as much as he.” As the pages turn and the seasons change, the owl stays put, but other animals appear in additional die-cuts, creating the sense of nature reawakening in full force. In straightforward couplets, Teckentrup (Get Out of My Bath!) describes how the tree and its environment transform: “Blossom falls and leaves are growing,/ A gentle springtime breeze is blowing./ Squirrels scamper here and there,/ Playful fox cubs sniff the air.” Crisp illustrations with grainy screenprintlike textures shift between bright blues, reds, yellow, and greens as day turns to night, leaves fill the tree, and apples appear in its branches; the surrounding woodland bustles with bees, butterflies, and perky daisies. Teckentrup brings the story full circle, seasonally speaking, and then some, ending with the promise of another spring instead of a cold, quiet winter. A playful yet focused look at constancy and change within a specific natural setting. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)