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Tree: A Life Storyby David T. Suzuki
Synopses & Reviews
A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions. The story of a single tree.
In this clear, concise, and captivating book, renowned scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki and award-winning writer Wayne Grady tell the life story of a tree, beginning when heat from a devastating forest fire opens thousands of pine cones and sends millions of seeds into the air. Most of these seeds perish, but one falls into the soil and develops into the tree that is the subject of this book.
Suzuki and Grady describe how the tree grows and receives nourishment and what role the tree plays in the forest throughout its life. It acts as a home to succession of creatures and plays a crucial role in the water cycle, in breaking rock down into soil, and in removing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Even after the tree dies, it provides a home for moss, ferns, and other plants, which use the tree as a nurse log, and it provides nutrients for insects and fungi. Tree also looks at the community of organisms that share the trees ecosystem and at the events going on in the larger world during the trees lifetime.
"Visitors to the Pacific Northwest often find themselves awed by the size of the trees, especially the grand and ubiquitous 'Douglas-fir.' In this slight, lovely book, environmentalist Suzuki (The Sacred Balance) and Grady (The Bone Museum) tell the tale of one Douglas-fir tree that lived for more than five centuries ('Around the time its seed was soaking in the sunshine... the Aztec Empire was building its capital city'). Woven into the narrative is a history of botany, the study of which developed during the tree's life (a digression about the Big Bang and the formation of organic molecules feels unnecessary, though). Facts about the species awe: old Douglas-firs can have 12-inch thick fireproof bark, and it can take 36 hours for water to get from the roots to the canopy. 'If left alone,' write the authors, 'our tree would grow forever.' Bateman's misty drawings offer portraits of the tree's companions-woodpeckers, eagles, mice, ferns-whose lives are more fleeting. Suzuki and Grady lament the loss of old-growth forests and their biodiversity, showing how each tree is part of a massive, interconnected web of organisms including fungi, birds and insects. This book is both a touching look at a single tree and an articulate testimony to nature's cyclic power. 13 b&w illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Acclaimed geneticist and environmentalist Suzuki and writer and translator Grady present a biography of a particular Douglas-fir as a representative of all trees. It grows close to Suzuki's beach cottage, is 50 meters (160 feet) high, about five meters (16 feet) in diameter, and may be 400 years old. Wildlife artist Robert Bateman illustrates.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"Only God can make a tree," wrote Joyce Kilmer in one of the most celebrated of poems. In Tree: A Life Story, authors David Suzuki and Wayne Grady extend that celebration in a "biography" of this extraordinary — and extraordinarily important — organism. A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single tree, a Douglas fir, Tree describes in poetic detail the organism's modest origins that begin with a dramatic burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen. The authors recount the amazing characteristics of the species, how they reproduce and how they receive from and offer nourishment to generations of other plants and animals. The tree's pivotal role in making life possible for the creatures around it — including human beings — is lovingly explored. The richly detailed text and Robert Bateman's original art pay tribute to this ubiquitous organism that is too often taken for granted.
"Only God can make a tree," wrote Joyce Kilmer in one of the most celebrated of poems. The richly detailed text and Bateman's original art pay tribute to this ubiquitous organism that is too often taken for granted.
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