Review Copy Courtesy of Abrams Books for Young Readers
Where to Get Trees: A Rooted History
How’s the cover image for you? Is it big enough? I hope so! I was trying to make it really big. I want it to fill your screen so that you can get a sense of how big this book is. It’s not particularly thick, all told it is 72 pages, but wow, it is a TALL book. Which I think is perfect, because this book is all about trees and trees are, well, tall. Please let me know if the cover is somehow warped for you, but I really hope I’ve succeed in adequately expressing the bigness of this book.
That, and I wanted you to be able to get an up-close look at the illustrations – because aren’t they completely stunning?
In Trees: A Rooted History, the illustrations on each page are so carefully and delicately crafted that they give us a transcendent-like visual experience that evokes a sense of wonder and awe.
I’m deeply impressed with how this book uses the picture book format to translate the beauty and magnificence of trees in such a way that gives us a new perspective and new appreciation. The art deftly indulges our eyes and focuses our attention on how incredible trees are.
I’m also impressed with how many different angles this picture book takes on. Naively I assumed that this would be strictly a botanically-based book, but it’s much more than that. Trees: A Rooted History skillfully shows not just the evolution and history of trees themselves – it also introduces readers to how trees have shaped humanity, animals, and the environment.
The font in this book is on the smaller side. So you may have to squint, search, break out the bifocals, or use your finger to keep your place – but I promise you whatever you have to do to read the text is worth it. The design choice here makes a lot of sense, the small font size lets the illustrations have the attention from observers that it deserves without requiring the content of the writing to be sacrificed. And you really want to read everything written in this book because the writing is so compelling and well-done, the information so fascinating, that it is worth any additional effort you may have to do to read it.
The wide-variety of topics include: What is a Tree? Leaves, Roots, The Four Seasons, Spreading Seeds, Endemic Species, Boababs, Tree Eaters, Tree Dwellers, Clever Camouflage, Prehistoric Trees, The Tallest Trees, The Broadest Trees (Árbol del Tule! 38 feet in diameter and about 1,500 years old – according to this book! Incredible!), The Oldest Trees (5,062 years old!), Rings of History (image above) – and I love how this book gives tidbits of history in relation to this 3,266 year-old tree. It gives you such a sense of perspective and a sense of how profound (heavy? staggering? difficult? I’m struggling with the right word here, but I think you understand) the loss of such old trees can be.
But this book isn’t anti-lumberjack or felling trees, in fact, I think it’s quite respectful of the industry and how much their work provides us. The authors are very aware of how important trees are to our daily life in books, desks, houses…in everything.
More topics include: Lumberjacks, Building with Wood, Wooden Transportation, Wooden Art, Wooden Instruments, Treehouses (this section was very much a hit in our house), Bonsai trees, The Art of Topiary, The Tree of Evolution, Family Trees, Trees in Religion, Sacred Trees, Forest Tales, Tree Monsters (think Ents from The Lord of the Rings), The Power of Nature (specifically the Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia and the tree that has gorgeously and almost magically grown over an abandoned city), Natural Forest, and Trees for the Future.
And while the illustrations of the trees have a very serious and mature beauty to them – the depictions of people are all goofy. Lots of different people from all over the world are depicted and they’re all equally goofy, and at times downright silly. This levity of the cartoon humans and animals is a nice balance with the elegant trees.
My sons, eight and five, enjoy this book immensely. They ask so many questions when we look at it that getting through this book has taken us awhile. Their most common question while reading it is has been, “Really? Is that true?” It’s been a lot of fun to see their reactions to this book.
Trees A Rooted History is a stunning and ambitious work. I really hope you get a chance to read and experience this book and I hope it imparts on you the same awareness and gravity of how incredible, crazy, glorious, and important trees are – because I haven’t been looking at the world the same way since reading it and I love the new perspective gained from reading this enchanting book.
Trees: A Rooted History was originally published in Polish by Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry, Warsaw under the title Drzewa (Polish for Trees) and masterfully translated by Anna Burgess.
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”