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Are Trees Alive?by Debbie S. Miller
IRA's Teachers' Choices List 2003
Synopses & Reviews
“Are trees alive? How do they breathe? They don't have noses.”
And so begins a conversation between the author and her daughter that leads to a remarkable discovery: Trees are like children in so many ways! They may look very different from people, but trees have roots that hold them to the ground like feet and leaves that blow in the wind like hair. Their bark even comes in different colors, just like our skin.
From this poetic comparison of plants and humans, readers will learn how trees live and grow, and how they get their food. They will learn about the baobab trees of Africa, the banyan trees of India, and the bristlecone pines of California. They will see, through Stacey Schuett's exquisite art, that trees come in all shapes and sizes—just like people—and provide a home to many different animals. But most of all, they will look at trees with greater respect and a bit of awe, after realizing that trees are alive too.
"To answer the title question, the brief text compares many characteristics of trees to those of people. Each double spread depicts a particular tree in its environment, with people and creatures who live around it, as it lists the qualities that make it 'alive.'" Children's Literature<>/i>
"The vibrant acrylic-and-gouache illustrations are scientifically accurate and inviting, and the people depicted reflect the cultures of the trees' locations." School Library Journal
"Especially appealing are a tropical layout with bananas, cocoa pods, butterfly, bat, boa constrictor, and a smiling face; and an island scene with a sandy beach, seabirds, sprouting coconut, and a young family." Kirkus Reviews
"Short sentences about tree parts and characteristics make analogies to human body parts and behavior. Some comparisons, such as bark to skin, focus on functionality; others are less scientific...but may spark discussion." Hornbook Guide to Children
"One of the best illustrations captures the immensity of redwoods by angling the view downward from mid-trunk and showing a tiny figure standing at the base of the tree." Booklist
About the Author
Debbie Miller has written many acclaimed children’s books, including Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Stacey Schuett has illustrated many popular books for children, including her own Somewhere in the World Right Now. From her studio window, she enjoys a view of her backyard, home to many oak, redwood, and fruit trees. Stacey lives in Northern California.
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