A Tree in a Forest

A Tree in a Forest

by Jan Thornhill

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Every tree in every forest has its own special story.'' When readers finish this book, they will no longer look at the crusty old bark on the backyard maple without some wonder and curiosity. Beginning with one maple seed's fluttering fall and gentle landing on a rotting log, Thornhill ( The Wildlife ABC ; The Wildlife 1 2 3 ) narrates a 200-year saga rife with danger (many saplings are gobbled up by forest animals, fire explodes nearby in summer's dry heat) and transformation (a branch torn away in an ice storm leaves a hole that will house downy woodpeckers). Text and illustrations teem with life and change. Thornhill manages to capture enormous complexity with ease and serendipity (look for the porcupine sliding down an iced hill). Her strong, precise illustrations--calling to mind the artwork of Lynne Cherry--hint at another story in the background: the stream of changing cultures from Native Americans to pioneer settlers to farmers to industrial families to subdivision commuters. This compelling presentation of the interdependency and rhythmic round of life will surely nourish readers. Ages 4-8. ( Apr .)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-- This story about the life of a maple tree begins when a seedling emerges on an old, fallen log. It grows and gives food and shelter to the animal life around it, until, weakened by storms, its large trunk falls to the forest floor, 210 years later. A new seedling finds a home in the rich, rotting wood . Thornhill uses a format similar to Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton (Houghton, 1989). Every page or double-page spread shows the same location in a different season or different year. There is some of the same slow, narrative build-up of enjoyment as in Donald Hall's The Ox-Cart Man (Viking, 1979). The lyrical text describes in the present tense the scene caught in each illustration. The illustrations reward close observation, as they are crowded with birds, beasts, and insects. Readers are shown, but not told, of the encroachment of civilization. Behind a thinning forest, they see Indians on snowshoes, then a log cabin, a Victorian brick home, and finally a road and contemporary children. Canadians will enjoy two unobtrusive touches--a flag and a hockey sweater--that place these woods on their side of the border. A good read-aloud for ecology units, while individual readers will enjoy poring over it. --Sharon Levin, University of Vermont, Burlington

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Product dimensions:
8.61(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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