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Trees

illus. by Jing Jing Tsong. 40p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481447072.
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RedReviewStarK-Gr 2—This picture book contains short free verse poems about 14 different species of trees along with sweeping spreads of corresponding artwork. The different personalities of the trees are beautifully captured by Jing Jing Tsong's detailed paintings and block prints, which she arranges into digital collages. The artwork is full of sensitivity and whimsy and highlights the interconnectedness of all life; this is where the book truly shines. Some spreads invite readers to turn the book lengthwise, allowing the tall trees to pierce the sky. Others, like the panorama of the palm tree, playfully dance widthwise across the page, following the breeze. In many spreads, children are dwarfed by the trees' magnificence, admiring them, playing beneath their leaves, or even being antagonized by a windy branch. The reader's vantage point hovers above the ground and sometimes even takes a squirrel's-eye view, as in the delightfully golden aspen spread. Hutchens' poetry personifies each tree, likening some to wise, old grandparents and others to unruly uncles. By humanizing the trees, she facilitates emotional intimacy. Young readers will come away wondering about the trees in their neighborhoods, and the book could encourage their own creative exploration.
VERDICT A gentle, gorgeous book to share with the youngest explorers of the natural world. Highly recommended.-Shannon O'Connor, Unami Middle School, Chalfont, PA

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