Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This playful celebration of trees offers profiles of 14 specimens. A sequoia known as General Sherman that stands in California's Sequoia National Park weighs close to three million pounds, or "as much as 14 Argentinosauruses, 10 blue whales, or three 747 jets." The Tule Tree, in Mexico, is recognized for gnarled contortions in its bark that "give the appearance of creatures hiding inside," while the Boab Prison Tree in Derby, Australia, carries a dark history—at the turn of the century, Aboriginal prisoners were chained there. Gibbon's muted mixed-media illustrations set each tree in context, as soft-featured people from across the centuries reflect the trees' storied histories. A joyful and respectful homage to trees that have stood the test of time. Ages 5–8. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“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

Children's Literature - Amanda Ledbetter
The pages of human history contain countless stories that warm and inspire readers' hearts. Many different species of trees dot the landscapes of those tales, and their strength and longevity allow them to serve as natural monuments for remembering much of the world's past. This picture book documents the lives and stories of fourteen famous trees from around the world, including the oldest, biggest, and tallest trees alive today. The religious significance of trees is identified in the Chapel Oak, the Tule Tree, and the Bodhi Tree. Some of the other "celebritrees" mentioned are the Major Oak, home of Robin Hood and his merry men, the Post Office Tree, the Tree that Owns Itself, and Moon Trees. Each tree is discussed over a two-page spread, complete with full color illustrations in acrylic ink, colored pencils, and watercolors. End materials include more information of the trees, environmental ideas on how to help trees, a bibliography, and a few websites for additional research. Reviewer: Amanda Ledbetter
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Preus introduces 14 trees famous in history or legend. Some are renowned for their age, height, girth, or other physical characteristics. For example, Methuselah, a bristlecone pine in California, is more than 4000 years old, while the Tule Tree in Mexico measures 177 feet around. Others are associated with historic events such as the Tree of One Hundred Horses, which sheltered the Queen of Aragon and her soldiers during a rainstorm. The Bodhi tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment and the Major Oak, where Robin Hood and his men met in Sherwood Forest, also appear. The newest trees are those grown from seeds and taken to the moon on Apollo 14 in 1971. Each featured specimen receives a spread with several paragraphs of text plus Gibbon's charming colored pencil and watercolor illustrations. Readers who want to learn more about one or more of the tree varieties can find additional information at the book's end. Preus also suggests ways to help nurture and preserve trees. The book might be paired with titles such as Jason Chin's Redwoods (Roaring Brook, 2009) or Barbara Bash's Tree of Life (Sierra Club, 1989). It can also introduce the importance of the topic, perhaps in connection with observances such as Arbor Day or Earth Day.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews

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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805078299
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 349,100
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 1020L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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. [www.margipreus.com]

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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