One Small Place in a Tree

One Small Place in a Tree

by Barbara Brenner, Tom Leonard
     
 

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Deep in the forest . . .

A bear sharpens her claws on a tree trunk. The scratched bark chips; a tiny hole forms. Timber beetles tunnel inside. The hole grows bigger and bigger.

In lyrical prose, Barbara Brenner reveals the fascinating happenings in one small place. She explains how, over many years, the rough hole transforms into a cozy hollow — home to

Overview

Deep in the forest . . .

A bear sharpens her claws on a tree trunk. The scratched bark chips; a tiny hole forms. Timber beetles tunnel inside. The hole grows bigger and bigger.

In lyrical prose, Barbara Brenner reveals the fascinating happenings in one small place. She explains how, over many years, the rough hole transforms into a cozy hollow — home to salamanders, tree frogs, a family of white-footed mice. Tom Leonard’s absorbing illustrations take you beneath the bark to a hidden world. His warm, lifelike depictions of squirrels and bluebirds, snakes and spiders show the splendor that dwells in the most unexpected places.

So stop. Observe. Explore your natural world. If you look closely enough, you will surely find . . . one small place that is home for something.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two new titles by Barbara Brenner, illus. by Tom Leonard, examine tiny animal habitations. One Small Place in a Tree demonstrates how different animals slowly create a hole in a tree (a bear uses the bark as a scratching post; timber beetles "set up housekeeping" in the layer below, etc.); even as the tree dies, it is host to birds and bacteria and later squirrels, salamanders and spiders. One Small Place by the Sea shows how life flourishes in small tide pools, as anemones, sea stars and other creatures feed on plankton and each other in an ever-changing coastal ecosystem. Leonard renders his realistic, full-bleed illustrations both scientifically and dramatically. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
As a description of the lifecycle of an ecosystem, this book traces the way decay and rot in a tree produces a host for many other life forms. Leonard's precise paintings of the forest world and Brenner's straightforward text show what you might see while walking by this same tree in the forest over about a decade's time. A black bear's scratching provides a small enough wound that timber beetles settle and start the cycle of decay. Next come red-bellied woodpeckers and other birds to eat the beetles and larvae, then come bacteria, and a small hollow, which is used by such animals as a flying squirrel, nesting bluebirds, mice, and even a tree frog. When the tree finally falls, the hole hosts a garter snake and a red-backed salamander. In addition to using the specific specie, not the generic, Brenner chooses her words carefully so that a young naturalist can observe the interrelationship, much as she did for One Small Place by the Sea (2004) and Brenda Guiberson has done for the saguaro in Cactus Hotel (Holt, 1991). It is a fine addition to the book shelf. 2003, HarperCollins, Ages 4 to 8.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Brenner leads children on ecological explorations of two environments, a tide pool and a hole in a tree. As the tide ebbs and flows and as the scratch in the bark of an oak grows and is gradually transformed into a hollow space, the animals that live in these places are revealed. Although a youngster is shown investigating each of these two habitats, the author utilizes an active second-person voice that successfully transforms readers into participants. Leonard's scientifically accurate, realistic paintings complement the poetic prose. The brightly colored full- and double-page illustrations display large, clear images of the creatures as well as detailed glimpses of their surroundings. Both of these selections are excellent choices to share with young naturalists, whether at home, in the classroom, or during a storytime romp through the great outdoors. For a fun follow-up trek, try Wendy Pfeffer's A Log's Life (S & S, 1997).-Jenna Miller, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Brenner shows young readers two different ways of looking at nature. By the Sea focuses on a tide pool, a place "no bigger than a bathtub," and invites the reader to examine its occupants closely. When the tide brings in plankton-laden seawater, the mussels and barnacles eat. But then a sea star eats a mussel, an anemone eats a snail, and a hermit crab jumps into the empty snail shell the anemone discarded. Very quickly and simply, readers understand how everything in the pool is related. If something upsets the pool's equilibrium, "[it] would still be a tide pool, but it would change"-a complicated concept that invites further thought. In a Tree, however, shows how a small space can evolve over a much greater span of time. First a bear scratches a tree; timber beetles burrow into the cut in the bark; woodpeckers feasting on beetles help to create a hole; squirrels move in, then bluebirds. Eventually the tree dies and falls, but the hole remains an animal home. The two share a spare, poetic language, giving just enough information. Leonard's bright illustrations match the text well-detailed, but not overly so, with a good sense of movement and life. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688171803
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/16/2004
Series:
One Small Place Series
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,077,768
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Lexile:
AD610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Barbara Brenner's curiosity about the world ranges far and wide. Her interests are reflected in the wide scope of her quality fiction and nonfiction. Some of her best-selling titles include Wagon Wheels and Voices: Poetry and Art from Around the World, which was an ALA Notable Book for Children and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. One Small Place in a Tree is a companion book to the striking One Small Place by the Sea. Barbara Brenner lives with her husband, artist Fred Brenner, in Hawley, Pennsylvania.

Tom Leonard's scientific folk-art style and fantastic perspectives have been influenced by Albert Lamorisse, Wilson McLean, and Chris Van Allsburg. In his illustrations for Madeleine Dunphy's Here is the African Savanna and Margaret Wise Brown's Under the Sun and the Moon, the vivid colors of the natural world nearly leap off the page. A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art, Tom Leonard lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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