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“Planting billions of trees across the world is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on cropland or urban areas.

As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting program could remove two-thirds of all the emissions from human activities that remain in the atmosphere today, a figure the scientists describe as ‘mind-blowing.’”

-- The Guardian, “Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential to tackle climate crisis’” (7/4/19)

“The trunk of a tree

is the road for me

on a sunny summer day.

Up the bark that is brown and dark

Through tunnels of leaves that sway

And tickle my knees in the trembly breeze

That’s where I make my way.

Leaves in my face and twigs in my hair

In a squeeze of a place but I don’t care.

Some people talk of a summer walk

through clover and weeds and hay.

Some people stride where the hills are wide

and the rocks are speckled gray.

But the trunk of a tree is the road for me

on a sunny summer day.”

-- Aileen Fisher, “Climbing” (1965) (One I memorized as a fifth-grader and can still recite from memory.)

I’ve always been fond of trees--climbing them, relishing their shade, and feasting on their fruit and nuts. I once planted 1,500 baby trees as a soil-conservation project. Forty-plus years later, the resulting acres of woods are visible on Google Earth.

Back when I was a little kid, in the early-Sixties, there was a big, old tree, bearing green apples, in our then-backyard. I learned to climb that tree, and to help bake pies for family get-togethers with the apples I’d pick. It was the first tree I considered “my tree.”

I love the illustration of the apple tree in TREES. From the perspective of a bird hovering up above the tree, we see how inviting a perch it appears. Having once lived alongside a commercial apple orchard, I recognize this tree image as a real, regularly-pruned, hard-working apple tree. It’s an apple tree that’s been created by an artist who has paid attention.

“Apple Tree

wise and gnarled,

bends low,

his branches weighed down

with round red fruit

and age.”

TREES consists of 14 two-page, breathtaking depictions of trees which are each accompanied by a free verse poem that lends personality to that variety of tree. The tree varieties included are maple, aspen, oak, palm, pussy willow, apple, red bud, spruce, dogwood, sycamore, white pine, willow, birch, and sequoia.

Jing Jing Tsong’s illustrations take advantage of the book’s long rectangular trim size by switching, when necessary, from broad, side-to-side images, to tall, top-to-bottom ones. This enhances the ability to depict the majestic stature of the really tall trees like the spruce and the Sequoia.

“Sequoia holds memories

for the Tribe of Trees,

telling tales from another age,

before the time

of saws.”

None of us are going to single-handedly save the planet from catastrophic changes by planting a couple of trees out back. But if we develop a new national and international sensibility, and participate as a society in current mass movements that seek to plant a billion trees, or a trillion trees, we can collectively play a role in real change to protect future life on Planet Earth.

40 pages                            978-1481447072                      Ages 4-8

Keywords:  trees, nature, science, STEM, free verse poems, poetry, environment, ecology, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, outdoors

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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Every tree has its own story to tell in this evocative collection of poems celebrating the many varieties—from maple to willow to oak.

There are so many different kinds of trees in the world, and each has special qualities that make it unique. This lyrical, fanciful collection of poems celebrates the singular beauty of each tree, from the gnarled old apple tree to the tall and graceful aspen.---from the publisher

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