When we moved from an urban home with a tiny yard to a six-acre property, we didn’t know much about how to live with local wildlife or care for a large landscape. Fast forward three years. We now know what it takes to keep the critters at bay, and we’ve become friends with a lovely, 77-year-old arborist who’s taught us how and when to prune our trees. In addition, our kids have learned along with us to appreciate the beauty and wonder of our trees, as well as how they can be used to build huts and forts. Having a lot of trees doesn’t make you love them. Each of these beautiful picture books is filled with awe.
Trees by Lemniscates
In the text, the trees are celebrated in a way that is both quiet and powerful. The mixed media illustrations are bold and unique. This title can be used for artful display, shared contemplation and conversation about the content, and ideas for tree-themed art projects. Ages 2 to 5:
Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
Rhyming text and a wide-eyed owl peeking out of its hole show how an apple tree changes through the year. All year long, trees are magical thanks to their bright illustrations and peek-a-boo glimpses of seasonal wildlife. Ages 3 to 7:
The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas, illustrated by Nicola Slater
If you like this book, you’ll love everything about it, from the quirky animals who love their tree for “wedding and bingo championships” to the sweet grandfather who hangs a swing for his granddaughter. The heartwarming story, which was based on a real tree, shows why trees are worth our long-term love. Ages 3 to 7:
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Lee White
Kate is the kind of person who doesn’t run away from a problem when there is one. Because she lives in a creaky house on top of a hill, she knows the best way to deal with the wind. Images of her pulling saplings up the hill in her wagon are heartwarming, as is the friendship that grows with the trees she plants. Enjoy this story with your kids to help them learn more about how trees help our planet. Ages 4 to 8:
The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie
A lumberjack isn’t the best person to be the main character in a story about trees, but in this case, he was very effective. In the beginning, he invites the animals he’s moved to live in his beard. Random, but a good laugh. When this turns out, not surprisingly, to be a bad idea, he gets smart and replaces the trees he cut down with new trees. This story is a new twist on the idea of being good stewards of the earth. Ages 5 to 8:
The Things That I LOVE About TREES by Chris Butterworth, illustrated by Charlotte Voake
People who read this book will learn a lot of important things about trees and animals, but they will also be swept away by the “love” they feel. Children can enjoy trees by building a hideout or making pictures with leaves and sticks in the back of the book. Ages 5 to 8:
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
There may not be another book about trees with so many important ideas in one book. People should remember that trees are beautiful because of the contrast between the beautiful Truffula Tree forest and the empty, depressing land that was left after the Once-ler cut down all the trees. We should think about how this stress on the local wildlife and pollution from factories show us how an ecosystem is linked together. This is also true of the Once-last ler’s words, which say that changing a landscape starts with just one seed. As far as I can tell, this book is just as important today as it was when it came out in 1971. (Age 6 to 9)
Seuss rhymes, nonsense words, and colorful pen-and-ink line art are all part of this book. In The Lorax, the soft, sweet-smelling Truffula trees are cut down and made into useless Thneeds. Children turn the pages and see how the clean, happy environment fades as the animals are forced to move away from the home they had. Even though the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, does his best to help them, it’s going to be a bad ending, unless…
“Maple” by Lori Nichols
Maple is a cute book about a little girl named Maple and the tree her parents planted in honor of her, which they named after her. Maple and her tree grow together and become best friends. They enjoy the changes in the seasons and the challenges of human emotions together. It turns out that Willow has a little sister one day, and another tree is planted for her. A story about love, friendship, and growth. The drawings are done with pencil on Mylar and then digitally colored.
“Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event” by Rebecca Bond
A true story from a hundred years ago about a group of people who lived together in a hotel on the edge of a lake in Canada. A forest fire starts on a hot summer day. In what comes next, there is a powerful event that makes people appreciate how much they have in common with animal friends. The lovely ink and watercolor illustrations look right at home in this book
“Miss Twiggley’s Tree” by Dorothea Warren Fox .
The old-fashioned look of this book hides a timeless message of bravery, generosity, acceptance, and community, even though it looks old. People quickly learn that Miss Twiggley is very different when they read Warren’s rhyming verse about her. When the town is in trouble and needs help, Miss Twiggley comes to the rescue. She opens up her treehouse to everyone, and it’s lovely. Clever drawings with weird people.
“The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest” by Lynne Cherry
There is a man cutting down a Kapok tree. He stops to rest, and then he sleeps. Animals whisper in his ear, tell him about their part in the forest, and beg him not to cut down the tree, so he doesn’t. The last voice is that of a Ynomamö child. People look at the man when he wakes up and decide what to do. The beautiful watercolor and colored pencil illustrations show the lush rain forest in all its glory. The story is for all ages.