cover image Poetrees


Douglas Florian, . . S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-8672-0

In this unusual collection, Florian focuses on several types of and parts of a tree, with poems about seeds, roots, bark, leaves, and tree rings (“Tree rings show/ how trees grow./ Wide rings: fast growth./ Narrow rings: slow”). Solid in their meter and rhymes, the poems are idiosyncratic rather than comprehensive, creating a hybrid of information, wordplay, and artistic invention. Appropriately enough, Florian's sophisticated collages are created on primed paper bags allowing him to combine interesting textures, chalk, colored pencils, stamps, and oil pastels. In addition to familiar oaks and birches, Florian (Dinothesaurus ) explores more unusual trees, including the dragon tree, monkey puzzle tree, and baobab. The book is designed to be held and read vertically, allowing Florian to showcase the height of trees like the giant sequoia (“Never destroy a/ Giant sequoia”) or banyan from treetop to root bottom. However, some may find this makes for awkward lap reading. Teachers in particular will find Florian's “Glossatree” at the end useful. Filled with facts about the trees described in the poems, it also includes a brief bibliography and author's note describing Florian's lifelong fascination with trees. Ages 6–up. (Mar.)