Are Trees Alive? by Debbie S. Miller, Stacey Schuett |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Are Trees Alive?

Are Trees Alive?

by Debbie S. Miller, Stacey Schuett
     
 

"Are trees alive? How do they breathe? They don't have noses."

And so begins a conversation between the author and her daughter that leads to a remarkable discovery: Trees are like children in so many ways! They may look very different from people, but trees have roots that hold them to the ground like feet and leaves that blow in the wind like hair.

Overview

"Are trees alive? How do they breathe? They don't have noses."

And so begins a conversation between the author and her daughter that leads to a remarkable discovery: Trees are like children in so many ways! They may look very different from people, but trees have roots that hold them to the ground like feet and leaves that blow in the wind like hair. Their bark even comes in different colors, just like our skin.

From this poetic comparison of plants and humans, readers will learn how trees live and grow, and how they get their food. They will learn about the baobab trees of Africa, the banyan trees of India, and the bristlecone pines of California. They will see, through Stacey Schuett's exquisite art, that trees come in all shapes and sizes—just like people—and provide a home to many different animals. But most of all, they will look at trees with greater respect and a bit of awe, after realizing that trees are alive too.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
To answer the title question, the brief text compares many characteristics of trees to those of people. Each double spread depicts a particular tree in its environment, with people and creatures who live around it, as it lists the qualities that make it "alive." The trees and people are from all over the world, places that are identified on a map on the endpapers. The double-page, acrylic and gouache paintings are naturalistic but simplified to focus on providing visuals to illuminate the text. The birds, animals and people enhance the overall design, adding visual interest to the factual. A section at the end, "About the Trees," not only adds information about the trees but also a bit about the other creatures pictured. 2002, Walker & Company,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Using comparisons to the human body, Miller describes the characteristics of trees. In simple but poetic terms, she compares the veins of a leaf to those in a person's hand. She tells readers that the tree trunk supports the tree as our legs support us, and that "Bark is dark or light, rough or smooth, thick or thin, just like people's skin." Children can travel the globe, examining common and unusual trees-a weeping willow in China, a baobab in Africa, Australia's ribbon gum, the paper birch of North America, India's banyan tree, etc. The vibrant acrylic-and-gouache illustrations are scientifically accurate and inviting, and the people depicted reflect the cultures of the trees' locations. Illustrated notes at the back of the book explain where they grow and their relative sizes and ages. The trees are also displayed on a map on the colorful endpapers. Team this unique title with such picture books as Cristina Kessler's My Great-Grandmother's Gourd (Orchard, 2000), Lynne Cherry's Great Kapok Tree (Harcourt, 1990), and Scott Sanders's Meeting Trees (National Geographic, 1997) for an informative unit or display about these plants.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Responding to her daughter's question about how trees breathe without noses, the author celebrates the common features of trees and humans in this multicultural picture book more successful for its art than its science. She compares tree roots to human feet: "Roots anchor a tree, like your feet help you stand." And: "A crown is the top of a tree, like your head is at the top of your body. The branches and leaves of a large crown give you lots of shade on a hot summer day." While the extended metaphor is rather muddled, she succeeds in conveying a warm feeling for trees and the environment. In an afterword, she invites readers to send her a digital picture of a tree to post on her Web site, and concludes with thumbprint pictures and facts about trees and animals seen in the illustrations. The artist uses acrylic paint and gouache to great effect, presenting double-page layouts showing trees and children around the world. Especially appealing are a tropical layout with bananas, cocoa pods, butterfly, bat, boa constrictor, and a smiling face; and an island scene with a sandy beach, seabirds, sprouting coconut, and a young family. End papers show where in the world trees from different pages are found. A feel-good story from the tree-hugging illustration on the front cover to the cozy family picnic at the end. (Picture book. 5-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802788016
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
01/28/2003
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
145,000
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Long roots wiggle through the soil. They gather water and minerals that trees need to grow. Roots anchor a tree, like your feet help you stand.


Sturdy trunk's stand short and tall. A trunk supports the body of a tree, like your legs support your body.


Branches hold animals, the nests of birds, swings, and tree houses. They sway gently, in the wind, like a mother's arms rocking a baby.


Bark is dark or light, rough or smooth, thick or thin, just like people's skin. Bark protects the inside of a tree from harsh weather and insects, like your skin protects you.


The crown of a tree reaches for the sky and gathers sunlight. A crown is at the top of a tree, like your head is at the top of your body. The branches and leaves of a large crown give you lots of shade on a hot summer day.


Leaves breathe for the tree. Trees need air just like you need air. Instead of using noses and lungs; leaves breathe through thousands of tiny pores known as stomata. Leaves flutter in the breeze like your hair blows in the wind.


Sticky sap travels through small tubes inside the tree, between the roots and the leaves. Without sap, the tree could not live, just like your body could not live without blood. Look at the veins in a leaf and compare them to the veins in your hand. Some tree sap is harvested by people.


Trees grow flowers of all shapes and sizes, of bright and soft colors. A pretty flower can attract insects and birds, just like your smiling face can attract a new friend. Animals feed on the nectar and pollen of the flowers. They help spread the pollen so that treescan make seeds and grow fruits.


Some seeds are tiny and fluffy and fly with the wind. Others are protected inside their fruit. The coconut tree grows the largest seed on Earth. Seeds sprout and become saplings, then grow up to be trees. Just like babies become children, then grow up to be adults.


Some trees die because of fires, disease, or storm damage. Many trees are cut down by people for their wood. But some trees live to be very, very old, just like some people live more than 100 years.


Excerpted from Are Trees Alive? by Debbie S. Miller. Copyright © 2002 by Debbie S. Miller. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Debbie Miller has written many acclaimed children's books, including Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Stacey Schuett has illustrated many popular books for children, including her own Somewhere in the World Right Now. From her studio window, she enjoys a view of her backyard, home to many oak, redwood, and fruit trees. Stacey lives in Northern California.

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