Trees are beneficial for city dwellers’ health and survival.
Curtis inundates readers with seemingly every possible fact about trees in urban areas. Many Indigenous peoples made their homes in forests; later, settlers cleared trees to make homes and roads and buildings. Trees were relegated to the outskirts of towns and cities or to the private gardens of the rich. Industrialization caused urban populations to explode, and trees were further crowded out. Parks were established in some cities so their inhabitants could enjoy a bit of fresh air and space. More details are introduced: the ravages of Dutch elm disease, the structure of a tree and the urban forest, the impacts of insects and other pests, and current methods of planting and maintaining city trees. The many health and economic benefits trees provide for urban populations are heavily stressed. Also in the mix are exhortations advocating for urban forests in the face of climate change and pollution. The information is fascinating, but the lengthy, densely set, and comprehensive text is overwhelming. The language and vocabulary are of a very high level and read as a lecture or convention speech. Pratt’s bright green trees stand out in the cityscapes, but the people are cartoony, and there is a madcap, hasty quality to many of the scenes, belying the seriousness of the subject.
Fodder for future arborists but probably not casual tree lovers. (glossary, sources) (Informational picture book. 9-14)