Tree in the Forest

Overview

Internationally acclaimed author, illustrator and naturalist Jan Thornhill has created a dramatic and unique picture book that brings to life the wondrous tale of one tree's survival through two hundred years of nature's blessings and scourges.

On a crisp, fall morning a little maple key spins through the air and settles on the life-giving ruins of an ancient tree. So begins the story of a single maple tree and the creatures it nourishes and ...

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Overview

Internationally acclaimed author, illustrator and naturalist Jan Thornhill has created a dramatic and unique picture book that brings to life the wondrous tale of one tree's survival through two hundred years of nature's blessings and scourges.

On a crisp, fall morning a little maple key spins through the air and settles on the life-giving ruins of an ancient tree. So begins the story of a single maple tree and the creatures it nourishes and shelters.

The intricacies of forest ecology and the importance of every link in the chain are highlighted in both the informative narrative and in the exquisitely detailed illustrations. Thornhill's brilliant drawings, each one alive with color and filled with a multitude of forest animals, will delight kids. From the tiniest cricket to the magnificence of a lighting storm, she captures them all.

Presents the life story of a 200-year-old maple tree.

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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 .)
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
Jan Thornhill's A Tree in the Forest, Bruce Hiscock's The Big Tree, and Linda Vieira's The Ever-Living Tree are exemplary portrayals of the life and times of a tree-respectively two sugar maples and a coast redwood. Through scenes depicting selected seasons during its 212-year life-span, author/artist Ms. Thornhill reveals that no tree stands alone, but rather relies on and is relied upon by the flora and fauna that congregate on, in or around it.
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

  • ISBN-13: 9780382243745
  • Publisher: Silver Burdett Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1994
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 years

Meet the Author

Jan Thornhill's books have twice been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award, Canada's most prestigious children's book prize. Wildlife 1 2 3 was awarded the UNICEF Ezra Jack Keats Award. A Tree in a Forest won the Canadian Children's Literature Roundtables Information Book Award. Crow and Fox was chosen a White Raven Book by UNESCO International Children's Library in Munich. When she isn't working on a children's book, Jan spends her time writing adult fiction, bird watching, and gardening.

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