Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

The Tree
by Dana Lyons, illustrated by David Lane Danioth
ages 4-8 32 pages Illumination Arts May 2002 Hardcover    

The Tree is beautifully illustrated, a book children will instinctively reach for on the bookstore or library shelf. In simple, but profound prose, The Tree is the haunting song of an ancient Douglas fir, living its life-cycle in the Pacific Rain Forest, speaking to the connection between all things on Earth: "For eight hundred years I have lived here/ through the wind, the fire and the snow."

The natural sacredness of the earth permeates all, until encroaching bulldozers disturb the quiet beauty of generations, bringing the destruction of a fragile environment: the sanctuary of young owls learning to fly, the roaming grizzlies and the lone wolf. Everything in the pristine forest is threatened by the advance of civilization.

The Tree asks, "Who will hold that river's shore? And who will take refuge in my shadow, if my shadow falls no more?" In the end, the tree hears the voices of children, their hands circling its trunk, their feet climbing the branches to peer on the others below. And the tree believes "the wind may always carry my song."

Nature's grand repository is the most eloquent argument made for the preservation of the delicate forest environment. The stunning illustrations deliver this vital message with subtle beauty, the profound silence of centuries, each page a quiet moment of reflection. The wonders of the forest are revealed, a lone wolf howling beneath a luminous moon, clouds scudding through a night sky, an eagle perched on a high branch, the sky fractured by bursts of lightning, frightened animals fleeing before the rampaging bulldozers.

One of the most significant ecosystems on the planet, the rainforest is home to a variety of species and plants, cleaning the air and replenishing the water. Teaching our children to value nature's rich bounty lies in appealing to their hearts and minds, planting the seeds of appreciation for all the earth has to offer. To this end, The Tree speaks the truth on every page, images that are striking and intense.

In the back of the book, a page is devoted to explaining the delicate balance of the Pacific Rain Forest, along with some essential facts. In this way, more information is available without spoiling the stark simplicity and gorgeous images of the story. This remarkable book is essential to a child's nature library, the interest, curiosity and hope for the future of this planet.

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Luan Gaines/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (