cover image Be a Tree!

Be a Tree!

Maria Gianferrari, illus. by Felicita Sala. Abrams, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4422-8

“Stand tall. Stretch your branches to the sun.” Gianferrari writes a hymn to attributes shared by humans and trees, guiding readers through lessons to be learned from their arboreal brethren. The bodies of trees and humans are not so different (“Your skin is bark,/ protecting what’s within”), and both species live in communities, sharing information. Trees signal each other through underground networks of roots and fungi: they “alert each other to danger. A wood wide web of information.” In strong, sweeping lines, Sala draws massive trees with trunks of green and brown, but also lilac, rust, and deep blue, that often dwarf the children playing underneath them; visitors of many ages and ethnicities stroll under the trees in a park. Diversity enhances both communities; “Immigrant trees, away from their native habitats, are vulnerable. But together, a forest of trees is strong.” By foregrounding living beings that exemplify grace, strength, and endurance, Gianferrari gives readers a new way to think about their individual and collective existences. Back matter includes information about trees, community-building, and more. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]