Tree Whispers

Child’s Play ­International. May 2023. 36p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781786286833; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781786286826.
K-Gr 3–This appealing book of poems explores the relationship between humans and trees in the modern world. While the concept of a tree-themed poetry collection might sound predictable, Ross cannily varies between the prosaic, the scientific, and the lyrical, bringing surprises on every page. Children will discover many ways to deepen their understanding of nature, from accurate depictions of seed pods and trunk rings to more creative fare, such as guides for imaginative tree-naming (“Welcome Shade Tree,” “Looks-Like-An-Elephant Tree”) and making land art out of sticks and leaves. Ross darts all over the world, from Japanese sakura to a baobab in Madagascar, from oyamel in a Mexican forest to the Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert. Sprinkled throughout are reverent odes to the willow; the blue jacaranda; and Pando, a vast colony of aspen trees sharing a single root system. The engaging verses employ alliteration (“What a wonder, willow waving!”), onomatopoeia (“creak, squeak, groan,/ drip-drip-drip, drop, drip”), personification (“to grow tall/ and strong in a leafy, lively, wood-wise hug”), and arresting imagery (“We turn air into heartwood,/ transform light to leaf,/ rain to roots to leaf to cloud”). With delicate lines and bright colors, Oakley’s flat-style art depicts trees, animals, and humans in joyful harmony all over the world.
VERDICT A first purchase for poetry collections, and for environmental collections as well.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing