NONFICTION

Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest

Greystone. Oct. 2019. 84p. index. photos. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771644341.
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Gr 3-5–This young readers edition offers middle grade readers a chance to explore the wonders of the forest. The author explains the complex interactions that allow trees to communicate with and protect one another, feel fear, and show bravery. Under ideal conditions, trees in forests form families and devise methods to ensure the long life and survival of their species. Wohlleben introduces the basic science behind how trees work, how they make babies, who are their friends and enemies, and what it takes to survive storms, infestations, and droughts. Using terms like mothers, babies, and schools and describing the trees as having emotions such as fear and longing, the author anthropomorphizes trees’ relationships with one another and with the animal kingdom. Although unusual, this format makes for easier comprehension of a complex subject matter and emphasizes the necessity of respecting trees and preserving forests. There is no mention of climate change and the future effects of global warming on trees and forests.
VERDICT With many illustrations, sidebars, quizzes, and projects this is an outstanding introduction into the world of trees. Highly recommended for students of science, environment, and ecology.

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