Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art

Overview

In spring, a snapping turtle lays her eggs on the hillside beneath the tree. In autumn, leaves fall as squirrels scamper up the trunk carrying nuts. And on a winter night, a backdrop of twinkling stars shines through the branches. Each day, the tree changes with the purple and pink of a sunset or a nip of cold air. But the tree is more than a thing of beauty—its changes represent the passage of time in nature. In this stunning book by Thomas Locker, who was seven years old when he won his first award for a ...

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Overview

In spring, a snapping turtle lays her eggs on the hillside beneath the tree. In autumn, leaves fall as squirrels scamper up the trunk carrying nuts. And on a winter night, a backdrop of twinkling stars shines through the branches. Each day, the tree changes with the purple and pink of a sunset or a nip of cold air. But the tree is more than a thing of beauty—its changes represent the passage of time in nature. In this stunning book by Thomas Locker, who was seven years old when he won his first award for a painting of a tree that still stands in the National Zoo, exquisite paintings and wondrous text are paired with questions about nature, and science comes alive through art.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Community 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 Crenson
In 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 Journal
Gr 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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064437509
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 271,390
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Locker is a renowned author and artist who has earned several distinctions for his children's books, including the Parent's Choice Award for Illustration, and the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Candace Christiansen is a teacher of chemistry and mathematics at a school in Columbia County, NY. She is also the author of three children's books. They live in Stuyvesant, NY.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    Great for Classroom Integrated Lessons

    This book is a great example of the integration of visual art, science and literacy. Students see the passage of time through the 'eyes' of a tree. The illustrations are fantastic. The ideas for classroom applications are endless. AT the end of the book there is a clear scientific explanation for the pictures and text of the book.

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