The world’s oldest trees get the spotlight in Siy’s picture book.
In her first book since Voyager’s Greatest Hits (2017), the author brings the story of a bristlecone pine tree to life. This nonfiction book’s story opens with a walk into the California mountains toward one of the world’s oldest trees. Readers learn how a bristlecone pine starts as a seed deposited on a rocky mountain, then stretches up toward the sky, developing growth rings. The pace is slow, soothingly moving through the seasons as the tree matures. Siy explains how scientists determine a tree’s age and possible threats to bristlecones that, if conquered, show up in its growth rings. It opens with life cycle and photosynthesis diagrams and ends with further details about bristlecones, a glossary, and a guide to animals in the book. Garnsworthy’s mixed-media full-color illustrations employ a rich, vivid palette that enlivens the natural world, although some of their finer details lack depth. Also, although the narration repeatedly highlights the trees’ “secrets,” it reveals facts about them almost immediately. This title conveys useful information that not only educates readers on bristlecones, but also offers wider lessons about dendrology in the vein of Christiane Dorion’s Into the Forest: Wander Through Our Woodland World( 2019).
An unusual but unevenly executed work of natural history for young readers.