Like the stealthy spider quietly spinning its web on a low bough, life around and on the apple tree is never static.
With each turn of the page, curious foxes, scampering squirrels, nesting birds, and cavorting bear cubs entertain a watchful owl stationed in a hollow in the trunk. The textured cover’s die-cut window nearly traverses the entire book. From the owl’s hollow to the cubs climbing the broad trunk and the squirrels and birds among its branches, multiplying cutouts reveal new critters and beg to be poked through by itchy fingers. The accompanying spare but whimsical couplets lull readers through the seasons from one winter to the next, then on to spring again. “The seasons have all come and gone. / Snow has fallen, sun has shone. // Owl sees the first new buds appear, / and so begins another year….” Teckentrup’s stylized block-print artwork focuses readers’ eyes on the myriad details of the unfolding forest scenes. On the left of each spread, the tree is brown with gold/green flecks and boasts big green apples; on the right, the mirror-image tree is rust with gold flecks and dangles red apples. Multicolored leaves change with the weather until a bare tree stands alone in drifts of snow. Adult readers will relish guiding their little ones into lessons about the seasons, colors, wildlife, and more.
This unassuming story is an intergenerational delight. (Picture book. 3-10)