Trillions of Trees A Counting and Planting Book

trillions of trees kurt cyrus

Like the pine trees lining the winding road”

-- Jim Croce “I Got a Name” (1973)

“Arbor Day, much like Earth Day, is a holiday that celebrates nature. Its purpose is to encourage people to plant trees, and many communities traditionally take the opportunity to organize tree-planting and litter-collecting events on or around the holiday. A popular Arbor Day tradition is to plant a tree in honor or memory of a loved one.”

-- from, “Arbor Day 2021: Learn How We Celebrate Arbor Day--And Plant a Tree!”

I planted a tree early last year. Our creaky old street tree, a thirty-foot tall standardized privet, was condemned and removed by the City. It’s tough to lose all the shade and privacy it afforded. A wonderful San Francisco nonprofit, Friends of the Urban Forest, scheduled a planting day, and I signed up. I helped plant street-side trees around our neighborhood, including a Brisbane box tree in front of our house. It started out last spring around eight feet; a year later, it’s more than twelve feet high.

“We never meant to plant a tree.

We wanted something small.

‘A trillium!’ my sister said.

And so she placed a call.”

My most notable tree planting feat took place some 45 years ago, back in the Hamptons. The New York State Department of Conservation sold me 1,500 seedlings, for pennies each, and I covered a couple acres of sandy fill with them. I sometimes go to the satellite view on Google Maps and can see that property now filled with big, old, lush evergreens.

“I’d like to buy a trillium, please,’

said Lizzie to the man.

He thought she said ‘a trillion trees.’

That’s how it all began.”

Kurt Cyrus’s paintings have a distinctive style. And he seems to have a handle on the love many preschoolers have for BIG! and A LOT! For example, see TADPOLE REX or TWENTY BIG TRUCKS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET.

TRILLIONS OF TREES is the tale of a crew of kids who step up--and step down on their shovels--when the miscommunicated order results in the delivery of hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of trees, which they set out to plant all over their neighborhood.

“Our shovel couldn’t hack it.

We bought a couple more,

and then we started digging

like we’ve never dug before.”

The kids plant trees as windbreaks and orchards; for shade; to replace trees lost in a forest fire; and as a conservation measure on steep slopes.

Planting trees to capture carbon may well be the most important reason to get involved. This year, National Arbor Day falls on Friday, April 30. But many states celebrate when it’s a good time for planting trees in their region. Here in California, we officially celebrated last week. (I gave our tree a hug.)

TRILLIONS OF TREES offers a perfect, and perfectly zany, introduction to kids about the benefits and pleasure of planting trees. I encourage teachers, parents, and grandparents to line up a baby tree, a shovel, and a copy of this book.

“My folks say,

Dig it! Dig it! Dig it! Dig it!”

-- The Beatles (1969)

40 pages                         978-1-250-22907-6                 Ages 4-9

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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Kurt Cyrus's Trillions of Trees is an ecological picture book companion to the popular Billions of Bricks, about counting and planting trees.

Grab a shovel and get ready to plant some trees! From poplars to pines, alder, apple, peach, and plum, this rhyming story introduces the concept of orders of magnitude and celebrates the importance of planting different trees and preserving diverse ecosystems. Nurturing a new sapling is one of the first steps in growing hundreds, millions, even trillions of trees.---from the publisher

40 pages                            978-1250229076                         Ages 4-7

Keywords:  trees, ecology, rhyme, ecosystems, fun, humor, counting, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old

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