|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.07(d)|
|Age Range:||6 - 7 Years|
Read an Excerpt
Going on a Tree HuntA Tree Identification Book for Young Children
By Jodi Stiriz Bird
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Jodi Stiriz Bird
All right reserved.
Chapter OneKyle's mom walked into the kitchen with a mysterious smile on her face.
"What are you up to?" asked Kyle.
"Pack some snacks, because we're going on a tree hunt," said Mom.
"You mean we are going to shoot at trees?" Kyle asked in a baffled voice.
"No, silly," said his mom. "We are going to go explore the woods and find out what kinds of trees are growing around here."
"That sounds pretty cool. You know I love going for hikes and exploring," said Kyle.
"I was hoping you would say that! Let me get a few things together while you grab some munchies, and we'll be off."
Kyle went to the snack cupboard and grabbed a few of his favorite goodies, got two cold water bottles out of the refrigerator, and put everything in his backpack.
Meanwhile, Mom was gathering a big, thick phonebook; a plastic baggie; and a marker. With their totes in hand, they headed for the door.
As soon as they got to the edge of the woods, a big gust of wind blew.
"Kyle, look up!" said his mom. "Do you see all of those tiny seeds twirling in the air above us?"
"Yes! They look like a bunch of helicopters trying to land on our heads," said Kyle.
"You're right; they do. Those are actually maple seeds coming down. They fly down like that so when they land on the ground they can become embedded in the soil and will be ready to grow into their own maple tree," said Mom. "Let's find the tree that they came from."
A few feet away stood a grand old maple with branches reaching high up toward the sky. It had broad leaves covering its majestic branches.
"I'll lift you up so you can gently take a leaf off of this tree, Kyle. We will put it in my phone book to keep it nice and flat. Notice how the leaf is similar to your hand. It almost seems as if it has tiny fingers sticking out. You can also pick up one of those seeds that just fell and place it on the same page. That way we will remember that the two belonged to the same tree. I'll write 'Maple' at the top of the page so we don't get the different varieties mixed up."
Soon the two explorers came upon one of the biggest trees Kyle had ever seen. He stopped to look not only at the tree itself, but also at all of the bustling about that was occurring in the branches above.
"What are the squirrels doing up there that keeps them so busy?" asked Kyle.
"They are collecting acorns to store away for the winter months to come," said Mom. "Look here on the ground by your feet, and you can see just what I'm talking about."
Scattered acorns lay on the ground among the fallen leaves from years past.
"Hey, Mom, check this out! It looks like a head with a tiny hat on top," Kyle said, squealing with glee.
"It's funny you should say that, because that is just what I always thought they looked like when I was a kid," his mom said with a laugh. "Those are the acorns that the squirrels are collecting. Isn't it hard to imagine that a tiny little acorn can grow into such a huge oak tree?"
"I bet that took years!" Kyle said as he looked high into the sky, squinting to see the top.
"Those branches are too high to reach, but right over here is a young oak sapling. Reach up and pick a leaf to add to our collection. Take notice of how this leaf is formed. It, too, looks somewhat like a hand with fingers sticking out, but it is much longer and narrower than the maple leaf. We'll put your acorn in a baggie because it is too fat for my book. Let me write 'Oak' on this page, and we'll be ready to continue."
"What else do squirrels like to gather?" asked Kyle.
"Well, they enjoy many types of nuts and seeds," said Mom. "Let's keep walking and see if we can find any other examples."
A cool breeze blew, and sunlight filtered in through the trees. Both Kyle and his mom were thinking of how wonderful it felt to be out in the midst of nature on a day so beautiful.
Looking up, watching the birds and squirrels, Kyle stumbled and nearly lost his balance.
"Whoops! That was a big root sticking out of the ground. And why is it starting to feel so lumpy under my feet?" said Kyle. "What are these things—black rocks?"
His mom laughed. "You are right; the ground does feel lumpy. Those are black walnuts you are stepping on, not black rocks. You just stumbled onto another clue to your question. Black walnuts are another favorite of the squirrels."
Kyle picked up a walnut and examined it by turning it around in his hand and feeling its rough, bark-like texture.
"They eat this stuff?" said Kyle. "I'm sure glad I'm not a squirrel. This would be like eating a tree."
"Funny you should say that, because just last night you ate walnuts in your dessert," said his mom.
Kyle looked at her with a quizzical expression.
"What you see in your hand is not the part the squirrels or humans eat. We eat what is called the meat, which is found inside of the bark-like covering, under the shell. Squirrels use their teeth to break it open, but we need a tool called a nutcracker. Pick up a few and we'll take them home to have for a snack. You can see that some of the shells have already been cracked open. They look like an owl's face."
"Oh, I see it now. How cool!" said Kyle. "I need to get a leaf for our book, too."
"You're right. Go ahead and lay it on this page that I have titled 'Walnut,'" said Mom.
Excerpted from Going on a Tree Hunt by Jodi Stiriz Bird Copyright © 2011 by Jodi Stiriz Bird. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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