This Tree Counts!


If you listen carefully to the lone tree behind Oak Lane School, it has a story to tell, about... one owl, two spiders, three squirrels, four robins, five caterpillars, six ants, seven crickets, eight flies, nine ladybugs, and ten earthworms, all living safe and free in their tree home.

What does this tree need? The children know-it needs friends!

Alison Formento's gentle story, illustrated with Sarah Snow's ...

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If you listen carefully to the lone tree behind Oak Lane School, it has a story to tell, about... one owl, two spiders, three squirrels, four robins, five caterpillars, six ants, seven crickets, eight flies, nine ladybugs, and ten earthworms, all living safe and free in their tree home.

What does this tree need? The children know-it needs friends!

Alison Formento's gentle story, illustrated with Sarah Snow's beautiful papercuts, whispers important ideas to all young tree lovers.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Della A. Yannuzzi
Can a tree talk? Yes it can, if you listen carefully. This is the question author Formento asks of her readers. In the back of Oak Lane School, one tree stands. Mr. Tate's students decide that the lonely tree needs some friends so they decide to plant more trees. Mr. Tate tells his students that trees can speak if one listens carefully to them. Just look at the owl who sits on its branches, and the spiders that spin their webs on a tree's limbs. And look at the four robins sitting in their nest high up in the tree. And if one looks and listens carefully, you can see the butterflies building their cocoons and the ants crawling along the tree's bark. This is how a tree talks. Mr. Tate then asks his students to explain why trees are great. The students answer, because they make shade, they send out air to breathe, and their wood is used to make furniture. Finally, Mr. Tate tells the children that they are ready to plant ten baby trees. One of the students waves to the lonely big tree and says, "Have fun with your new friends." This is a lovely book filled with colorful illustrations. Reviewer: Della A. Yannuzzi
Publishers Weekly
“Trees will speak only if you listen closely,” Mr. Tate tells his students, as they prepare to plant trees near a large oak. As they listen, they hear the tree tell a counting story, which describes the animals that make the tree their home: “One owl sits high on my branches, waiting for the moon. Two spiders cling tight to webs, spinning all day long.” Snow's joyful cut-paper collages feel alive with activity, making this a green counting book with panache. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—At Oak Lane School, Mr. Tate's class decides that the lone oak tree in the school yard needs friends, so they decide to plant some saplings. Before they begin to dig, their teacher tells his students, "Trees will speak only if you listen closely." As the children listen to what the tree has to say, the narrative slips into the style of a counting book. The tree counts all the different creatures making their home in its vicinity, from one owl "waiting for the moon" to 10 earthworms "munching rich soil." Mr. Tate continues his lesson, and the youngsters talk about different types of trees as well as a variety of objects made of wood. At last, the class is ready to dig and they plant 10 trees, companions for the stately old oak. Snow's collage illustrations add texture and natural beauty to the story. The characters are dressed in outfits that showcase their individual personalities. The picture of the industrious kids working together in the grassy field under a bright blue sky epitomizes the story's theme of cooperation and friendship.—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
Kirkus Reviews
With a cleverly worded title, Formento combines a counting book with the environmental message that every tree matters. When Mr. Tate's elementary-age class decides to plant some trees behind their school, he encourages them to do even more: to listen to what the old oak tree can tell them. Their listening pays off-they hear all sorts of animals that make the tree their home, from one owl to ten earthworms. Mr. Tate's mini-lesson continues, touching on the fact that trees cleanse the air, have names and make the seeds that feed animals and grow new trees. Together the class brainstorms some different kinds of trees and the many uses of their wood. The artwork combines a hodgepodge of styles, using collages that are both hand- and digitally made with found papers and several paint media. The result gives a very earthy, made-from-nature feel to the illustrations. Snow's animals are easy to count and will keep young readers occupied. Paired with one of Ellen Stoll Walsh's Dot and Jabber adventures or one of Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's books, this will suit many audiences. (Picture book. 3-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807578902
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 612,130
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    This Book Counts!

    I loved this beautiful book and its environmental, but not preachy, twist on counting. Little ones will love searching for all the tree's friends - and illustrator Sarah Snow does a great job "hiding" those little guys. It's fun to read this book with your little one and see who can count them all first. Older ones will love Mr. Tate's class and may even be inspired to share their enthusiasm with their own teachers. Alison Formento delivers a wonderful message about trees and the environment and the role anyone, even children, can play. I great gift for Arbor Day, Earth Day, or really any day!

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    Count on Fun

    This Tree Counts made my tree-hugging heart really happy. The writing is upbeat and educational without being sappy. The illustrations are charming and go very well with the text. the combination made me buy it for my nieces and nephew. It' a fun book to read aloud to children, and finding all the things that need counting is a challenge that even I, at my age, couldn't resist. I recommend this adventure with Mr. Tate's class as they learn a little bit about life and listening and trees. It' a delightful spring tale and it has something for small children, who will enjoy the counting and being read to, and for older children who will be able to read it themselves and learn something about connections in nature.

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