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4.0 3
by Douglas Florian

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Seeds are sprouting, roots are spreading, and branches are swaying in this tree-mendous poetry collection. From coconut palms and bristlecone pines to baobabs and banyans, Douglas Florian explores the arboreal world with his signature wit and whimsy. Featuring a dynamic vertical format that illustrates the incredible heights and shapes of the trees, this book


Seeds are sprouting, roots are spreading, and branches are swaying in this tree-mendous poetry collection. From coconut palms and bristlecone pines to baobabs and banyans, Douglas Florian explores the arboreal world with his signature wit and whimsy. Featuring a dynamic vertical format that illustrates the incredible heights and shapes of the trees, this book illuminates the natural history of these majestic beings as well as their unique and quirky characteristics.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this unusual collection, Florian focuses on several types of and parts of a tree, with poems about seeds, roots, bark, leaves, and tree rings (“Tree rings show/ how trees grow./ Wide rings: fast growth./ Narrow rings: slow”). Solid in their meter and rhymes, the poems are idiosyncratic rather than comprehensive, creating a hybrid of information, wordplay, and artistic invention. Appropriately enough, Florian's sophisticated collages are created on primed paper bags allowing him to combine interesting textures, chalk, colored pencils, stamps, and oil pastels. In addition to familiar oaks and birches, Florian (Dinothesaurus) explores more unusual trees, including the dragon tree, monkey puzzle tree, and baobab. The book is designed to be held and read vertically, allowing Florian to showcase the height of trees like the giant sequoia (“Never destroy a/ Giant sequoia”) or banyan from treetop to root bottom. However, some may find this makes for awkward lap reading. Teachers in particular will find Florian's “Glossatree” at the end useful. Filled with facts about the trees described in the poems, it also includes a brief bibliography and author's note describing Florian's lifelong fascination with trees. Ages 6–up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Florian focuses on trees (seeds, bark, leaves, roots, and tree rings) and introduces readers to 13 species from around the world. An oversize, double-page illustration accompanies each poem. Some are read lengthwise, which enables the artist to highlight the awesome height and size of trees. The selections are accessible and concise, with child-friendly wordplay and artful design: of the "spreading," "treading," "always-outward-heading" banyan tree, Florian concludes: "It's not a tree—/It's a forest!" The primitive illustrations—crafted on "primed paper bags" using mixed media including gouache watercolor paints, colored pencils, rubber stamps, oil pastels, and collage—range in nuance from whimsy to mystery and reverence. In "The Seed," Florian highlights the symmetry of trees by laying out the short text in a figure eight, an eternity symbol; this dovetails neatly with the overall theme of recycling and renewal. He concludes with a "Glossatree," a thumbnail sketch of each tree, and an author's note and sources. This exquisite collection, with its thoughtful wordplay and timely subject, rewards careful reading and should resonate with a wide audience.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Trees receive a witty and informative rhyming appreciation. Starting with a concrete poem about "The Seed" (which brilliantly snakes its way into the shape of the infinity sign) and moving into species both familiar-"Oak," "Giant Sequoias"-and less well known-"Scribbly Gum," "Bristlecone Pine"-Florian also introduces readers to such individual elements as "Roots" and "Bark." The author renders his illustrations on crinkly, brown paper bags in a diverse assortment of media-gouache watercolors, colored paints, rubber stamps, oil pastels and collage-and incorporates images of humans (hands, faces, whole bodies) into many of them. Equally effective is the large double-page layout of the book, which opens top to bottom rather than left to right, giving each tree room to grow. His style is looser than in previous books, in keeping with the organic, natural theme. Although some of his wordplay falls flat (sequoias are "Ancient seers / Of three thousand years"), by and large the poems live up to his usual high standard. The author is careful to include a "Glossatree," an author's note and a bibliography. Readers and listeners will learn and laugh. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)
From the Publisher
"Starting with the book’s title and ending with a final “glossatree,” the wordplay in Florian’s latest poetry
collection provides plenty of fun...The final fascinating notes on each tree, and on leaves, stems, and roots, spell out the call for conservation that is part of the poetry and pictures. — Booklist

"Trees recieve a witty and informative rhyming appreciation...the poems live up to his usual high standard...Readers and listeners will learn and laugh."—Kirkus Reviews

“Florian’s richly watercolored collages, accompanied by verse, evoke a whole forest of trees. Sometimes it takes just a handful of words. “From the acorn grows the tree - slowly, slowly,” he writes, as an oak fills a two-page spread, stained onto paper.”—New York Times Book Review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Florian uses deftly crafted, refreshingly unforced rhymes to celebrate a dozen trees and their components. The roles of seeds, roots, bark, and tree rings are all given poetic attention, while the trees included range from coconut palm and baobab to weeping willow and yews. Play with words and with their arrangement on the pages abounds, as does wry humor. "I'm nuts about the coconut./ I'm cuckoo for the coco./ I'm crazed for this amazing nut./ For coco I am loco." The book opens from top to bottom to allow the trees to grow vertically across the gutters. The mixed media illustrations are delightfully innocent, suggesting perhaps the directness of children. They create their impression using gouache watercolor paints, colored pencils, rubber stamps, oil pastels, and collage on primed brown paper bags. The end pages repeat the bark of the scribbly gum, "...where larvae left their mark...Lovely woodcuts for the viewing." The pages suggest rather than represent nature; while dominated by the tree, each double page also offers bits of surprises to challenge the acuity of the reader. A final two-page "Glossatree" offers facts about all the subjects. Florian adds background on the trees in his life and the important role of trees for the earth, along with a bibliography. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

Product Details

Beach Lane Books
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File size:
38 MB
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Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Douglas Florian is the creator of many acclaimed picture books including Dinothesaurus, which received four starred reviews and was named to many best-of-the-year lists; Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year and Horn Book Fanfare List selection; and Bowwow Meow Meow, winner of the Gryphon Award and a Parents Magazine Best Book of the Year. He lives with his family in New York.

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Poetrees 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Sue_Corbett More than 1 year ago
a tree as lovely (or witty) as this book. Full of fun wordplay, interesting facts (in the glossa-tree) and inventive art (the poems and illustrations are laid out sideways, to give the trees to more vertical room to exist in, if you know what I mean), this is a treat to read-aloud and a wonderful choice for the classroom. Eighteen poems celebrate our arboreal companions -- the oak, the giant sequoia, the Banyan, the bristlecone pine, oaks, birches, the dragon tree, monkey puzzle tree, baobab and more. The art, done on crinkled paper bags, suggests the importance of recycling and conservation, in addition to paying homage to the subject matter. Excellent work.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Are you a fan of poetree? A lover of all things green and leafy? Ever want to know more about a Baobab or an oak? Or tree roots and seeds? Look no further than Poetrees (2010) written and illustrated by Douglas Florian. Poetrees is filled with quick, witty poems to entertain, inform, and amuse. Combined with original illustrations done with what looks like water colors and maybe some pastels. The book is clever and a lot of fun right down to its unique vertical orientation to give the trees shown their maximum height. Poetrees is a delightful book for aspiring poets, botanists, and anyone looking for a little fun. The back of the book even has a glossatree with information about all of the trees featured in the book. Exclusive Bonus Content: I couldn't figure out how to file this so it's cross posted in with non-fiction and picture books. Madness! (I acquired a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster's Fall 2010 preview which I was lucky enough to attend.)
LadyJai More than 1 year ago
Upon receiving this book you will immediately know it is quite unique. The spine is the top and you open the book by flipping up, not from side to side. A rather interesting quirk that leaves me kind of frustrated because, you know, when you are used to doing it a certain way, change is rather hard to get used to! :P So if you pick this book up to read it, try to remember to flip it up! :D The poetry in this is short and whimsical while educational. I loved learning about the different and exotic trees. And the author really does a wonderful thing by stretching or changing the direction the words are going in order to punctuate the word choice. He's also incorporated words within the pictures as well. I loved how this is presented in this way. I also liked the fact that this book includes a glossary (or rather, a glossa-tree as everything is about trees). It not only introduces the young reader to poetry and different types of trees, it also introduces them to a very pertinent part of books. When you need to know what a word means, it is a mini-dictionary. I like that this includes one and thus, encourages the reader to expand his/her vocabulary.