Demonstrates through text and paintings how art and science are linked.
Children's Literature - Susie WildeCommunity crosses curriculum in this book, which is part of the new "Seeing Science through Art Series" by this author. Noted illustrator Locker unites art with science and shows how one tree embodies a sense of community. Each page ends with focus questions interjecting a thoughtful, feeling tone.
Children's Literature - Victoria CrensonIn an author's note, Locker tells us that "Through storytelling, art appreciation, and scientific exploration, Sky Tree attempts to reach both the heart and the mind." While each picture in this book presents the same scene-a tree by a river-each is profoundly different. Diurnal and seasonal changes are reflected in a change of mood, light, and color. The text is as evocative as the paintings: "The smell of wet earth filled the air. Squirrels raced through the fresh grass and up the tree. Sap rose to the tree's tight buds." On each page the artist asks the reader the same question in a different way, "How does this painting make you feel and why?" We are invited to linger, examine, and gain a deeper appreciation. In a section at the back of the book, the artist shares thought-provoking observations about color, composition and the nature of trees, sky, and light.
School Library JournalGr 1-3In his familiar lyrical style, Locker depicts the same tree throughout the seasons, but with a startling visual effect that will make readers sit up and take notice. After its leaves have dropped, the tree's bare branches are ``clothed'' in the same shape by being limned against clouds, holes in clouds, different skies, and even a flock of birds. The effect is as lovely as anything the artist has ever done. Each painting faces a brief appreciative caption printed in slightly enlarged type, plus a question designed to elicit responses to what viewers see (and further discussion in an appendix). However, some of the questions are leading (``Why does this painting make you feel sad?''), and the prose is less than careful: ``By the end of the day many leaves began to fall, first one and then another.'' Text and pictures do not always correlate either; despite reference to ``the weight of the heavy snow,'' the tree opposite ``Snows [sic] fell'' shows only a dusting. Though appealing in several waysLocker adds analytical comments about color and composition that are particularly illuminatingthe writing here is not up to the standard set by the art.John Peters, New York Public Library
Stephanie Zvirinder for the art. It's rare that a book so obviously meant to serve more than one purpose manages the task with such polish. This collaboration speaks with a graceful simplicity that not only firmly fixes the relationship between art and science, but also subtly draws children into the miracles of nature itself. Elegant yet unpretentious oils depict a solitary tree, standing at river's edge and wrapped round by an expansive sky, as it's altered by the cycle of the seasons and the rising and setting of the sun. The tranquil mood of the artwork carries over into the main text, boxed in a background of changing sky, which provides the necessary context for the paintings. Beneath the main text are questions challenging children to explore the feelings the artwork inspires. This is the weakest part of the book, seeming more intended for grown-up facilitators--art and science teachers, Picture Ladies--than children themselves, as is the case with a follow-up section, "Connecting Art and Science in "Sky Tree"." Still, this is unquestionably a fascinating, even glorious celebration of nature that will stir both children and adults to a finer appreciation of a wondrous, surprising world that's right within their grasp.
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