Children climb trees around the world to play, make discoveries, see what they can see and maybe pick a tasty treat.
“What if you / heard a bird / in the branches above, / and your feet / followed a root… // or you shimmied up a trunk / so thick and tough, / and swung / like monkeys do?” Each page turn brings readers to a different country and type of tree: a mango in West Africa, a lychee in Hawaii, a kapok in Brazil. Bernhard sprinkles the backgrounds with native flora and fauna or glimpses of people, and occasionally she employs some stereotypes: a windmill in Holland, thatched-roof huts in South Africa. The stiff poses and static faces on the children show none of the childhood joy that accompanies tree-climbing; at best they seem content. Too, for a book that focuses on tree species, the artwork is not realistic enough to really showcase the different trees’ attributes. World maps on the endpapers mark the locations of each of the 12 trees with inset pictures, and backmatter gives a paragraph of information about each species (on a much higher reading level than the text), a few resources for more information (most related specifically to this book) and reasons to be careful climbing trees.
Not much here to make kids run out and climb a tree. (Informational picture book. 5-8)