What Do You See When You Look at a Tree?
Emma Carlisle, Author and Illustrator
Templar Books, Fiction, Nov. 1, 2022
Suitable for ages: 3 – 7
Themes: Trees, Nature, Discovery, Explore
Earth Day, Atpril 22, 2023
Opening: What do you see when you look at a tree? / Leaves and twigs and branches? / Or do you see a living thing that moves and breathes and dances?
Book Jacket Synopsis:
Have you ever climbed a tree, or sat in its shade on a hot, sunny day? Have you ever wondered who has gazed up at its branches before you? In this gentle picture book, author-illustrator Emma Carlisle encourages children to explore their connections with nature. What types of trees are found all around the world? How is each tree different? What might a tree have witnessed over its centuries of life, and what other children may have played under its branches?
Full of finely drawn tress of al all shapes and sizes, this sweet story depicts the natural environment through the eyes of a child, urging young readers to connect with the world around them and fostering a lifelong love of nature.
Why I like this book:
What a perfect time to be thinking about trees with Earth Day on Saturday and spring in full bloom. Emma Carlisle has created a gem of a book for readers. And I believe it is a book that will stir many memories in adults. The beautiful rhyming text is peaceful and will draw readers into the story. Carlisle’s artwork is warm, friendly and inviting.
This is a quiet and contemplative book the encourages children to pause and take a moment to examine the trees in their back yard, school yard, park and on their morning walks through the woods. It encourages children to identify the trees around them. Are there pine trees that keep their needles all year long? Do other trees have blossoms that have beautiful pink or white blooms in the spring or have golden colors in the autumn? What birds and animals live in and under the trees?
I was drawn to this book because of my memories of spending hours around trees as a child. We had beautiful fruit trees and my favorite was a cherry tree where I would climb up into the center and sing for hours. I loved picking cherries for pies. I also enjoyed shooing the birds away. It was my hiding tree. The big willows in the back were my climbing trees and I would climb to the top to see downtown Columbus in the distance. And then there were buckeye trees to climb. I gathered twigs of buckeyes and dipped them in melted gold or silver crayons to create decorations..
I particularly love the suggestions and questions the author poses at the end of the book like Listening in Trees, How to Be More Like a Tree, Rest, Spread Your Roots and many more. Make sure you check out the author’s note at the end where she shares her own journey with trees.
Resources: There are so many suggestions for readers about how to use this book. I’ve already shared some. Most important, take a walk around your own backyard and identify the trees. Is there a tree that you would like to plant? Enjoy being outdoors enjoying nature.
Emma Carlisle is an artist who teaches illustration at the University of Plymouth. Her first book, Lion Practice, was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in Plymouth, England.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by Templar/Candlewick in exchange for a review.