Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Review: Tree Beings by Raymond Huber

by Raymond Huber
Illustrated by Sandra Severgnini
Foreward by Jane Goodall
EK Books
Picture Book / Non-Fiction
ages 6 to 10
96 pages

Trees are tall, strong, ancient, and easily thought of as silent statues. Tree Beings challenges this perception, instead celebrating trees as our best allies in the fight to slow down climate change. In exploring this, it centres around four â??big ideasâ??: trees give life to the planet, trees can help save us from climate change, trees are like beings, and trees need our help and protection. In a vibrant combination of illustrations and text, it blends true stories and science to explain how trees are essential to our world.

Introduced by world-renowned conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, Tree Beings contains accounts of a scientist who discovered how trees â??talkâ??, the young woman with the world record for living up a tree, a boy who mobilised other children to fight climate change, the first brave tree-hugging women, and a man responsible for trillions of tree-plantings. Learn to appreciate trees through the stories of people who love them, while also reading about tree wisdom from many cultures, and some famous and fascinating tree species.

In a world increasingly concerned with conserving our natural environments, Tree Beings is an excellent way to help children appreciate the wonder and value of nature. Learn to cherish our connection to trees, not as silent statues, but as beings that enrich the whole planet.


Each page offers beautiful illustrations, while demonstrating the importance of trees and so much more.

The cover already makes it clear, which topic is about to be explored—trees. After a short and direct explanation of what 'tree beings' are, there's a lovely foreword from Dr. Jane Goodall before the various topics/chapters are introduced. The book is divided into four 'Big Ideas', which center around life in trees, the importance of tree, trees as living organisms, and how to help trees. During these sections, various people are introduced, who dedicated their lives (or part, at least) to make a difference in the world of trees. Many other themes, creatures, examples, facts, events and so forth are also fitted under these four categories to create a well-rounded wealth of information. At the end, there are several puzzles, a glossary, and an index. There is also a teacher's guide available for those wanting to use this in a group setting—which I can definitely recommend.

My favorite aspect of this book are the illustrations. Not only do they accompany the information and help readers to better understand the information being brought across, but they are lovingly done. The respect for trees radiates from every page and is impossible to ignore. Plus, it's simply a joy to flip through the pages and discover the artwork.

This is not a book for the youngest readers, but rather for those who are sure of their word skills. The text is not light, but it's still very understandable for the intended audience. The writing does keep all of the facts from becoming too dry, and there are many interesting tidbits thrown into each section. The information is varied and spreads over several areas. There's definitely a large array of things to learn. 

While this book would interest young tree lovers, it's something I recommend for a group setting or home schoolers, who are exploring the topic. There is a teacher's guide available, too. This does center on the importance of trees in our world, what dangers they face, and how they can be saved...and it's well done.

And here they are...

Raymond Huber is a children’s author, teacher, and editor. His acclaimed picture books, Flight of the Honey Bee and Gecko, are published in several countries; his junior novels, Sting and Wings, are science-fiction about bees; and Peace Warriors is a young adults' book about non-violence. Raymond has also written many educational books. He lives in New Zealand and was the Creative NZ-Otago University Writer in Residence in 2018.

Sandra Severgnini owned an art gallery and retail store before finally deciding it was well and truly time to nurture her lifetime passion and focus on children’s picture books. Her fascination with the magical natural world around her inspires her words and brings sensitivity and humor to her illustrations.

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