Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the Worldby Rebecca Gibbon (Illustrator), Margi Preus
Some trees have lived many lifetimes, standing as silent witnesses to history. Some are remarkable for their age and stature; others for their usefulness. A bristlecone pine tree in California has outlived man by almost 4,000 years; a baobab tree in Australia served as a prison for Aboriginal prisoners at the turn of the twentieth century; and a major oak in
Some trees have lived many lifetimes, standing as silent witnesses to history. Some are remarkable for their age and stature; others for their usefulness. A bristlecone pine tree in California has outlived man by almost 4,000 years; a baobab tree in Australia served as a prison for Aboriginal prisoners at the turn of the twentieth century; and a major oak in England was used as a hiding place for Robin Hood and his men (or so the story goes…).
The fourteen trees in this book have earned the title "Celebritrees" for their global fame and significance. Both in fact and in legend, these fascinating trees remind us not only how much pleasure trees bring, but what they can tell us about history.
“It's a fun spin on a dull topic: old trees. ‘I loved seeing the Coast Redwood next to the Statue of Liberty,' says a 9-year-old tester.” Parents magazine
“A kid-friendly ‘Who's Who' of the arboreal world. Adding to Celebritrees' appeal are Rebecca Gibbon's charming, colorful illustrations.” Audubon magazine's blog, "The Perch"
“This beautiful picture book will inspire young naturalists to realize their environment in a new way and treat earth's silent wooden structures with respect.” UrbanBaby.com
“A joyful and respectful homage to trees that have stood the test of time.” Publishers Weekly
“This picture book gallery of impressive trees, illustrated in friendly folk-art style, offers substantive information on what makes each specimen unique.” Horn Book Magazine
“Engaging.” Kirkus Reviews
“Each featured specimen receives a spread with several paragraphs of text plus Gibbon's charming colored pencil and watercolor illustrations.” School Library Journal
“Gibbon's acrylic-ink, colored-pencil,and watercolor artwork creates an inviting look throughout the book.” Booklist
From "Methuselah," a 4,800-year-old bristlecone pine, to young trees grown from seeds taken to the moon, Preus introduces 14 trees so exceptional for their age, size or some historic happening that they have acquired names and fame. These include abodhitree in Sri Lanka grown from a branch from a tree under which Buddha sat, an oak in England where Robin Hood met with his band, a Balm-of-Gilead poplar in New York where men left their scythes when they went off to war and a baobab prison tree in Australia. The author has found engaging stories about these trees, but the intended early-elementary audience is not likely to have the historical background to make meaning of them. Even more unfortunately, the illustrations are suggestive rather than representative and, in some places, even confusing. These pencil, ink and watercolor paintings whimsically celebrate real and imagined life in and around the trees. But the "Methuselah" page includes an irrelevant and inaccurate sketch of the solar system; "General Sherman," a tree whose girth can't be spanned by 12 people with arms outstretched, is pictured with 13 people standing on one side; and an afterword section on oaks is illustrated with conifer needles and cones. One concluding section describes more about these tree species; a second offers suggestions for helping trees thrive. (bibliography, websites)(Informational picture book. 7-10)
Meet the Author
Margi Preus is the author of The Peace Bell, which School Library Journal praised for its "[m]essage of peace between nations...eloquently conveyed." She writes plays and children's books in Duluth, Minnesota.
Rebecca Gibbon is the illustrator of several picture books, including Elizabeth Leads the Way, which was named an ALA Notable Book among other honors. She lives in England with her husband and two young children.
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