A massive old oak tree becomes the focus of Benjamin and Anna’s seasonal visits to their cousin.
During fall school break, Benjamin and Anna visit their cousin Robin, who lives at the forest’s edge. When Robin takes them to his favorite oak tree—“nearly three hundred years old”—the autumn leaves are yellow, red and brown. They build a den near the oak, watch hawks and squirrels, and gather mushrooms. Returning in winter, Robin and Benjamin ski to the now-bare oak, where birds and animals shelter. In spring, the old oak has new leaves and is surrounded by bluebells, catkins and cuckoos. Near the pond by the oak, the children see a hare, deer, a fox and badgers, and a frightened Benjamin hides in the oak from wild boar. At summer’s end, Benjamin and Anna return, and there’s a birthday party for the old oak. Realistic, delicate paintings use pattern, light and soft colors to track nature’s transformation of the old oak tree during a single year in an innocent style reminiscent of Barbara Cooney. Simplified natural details of individual plants, birds and animals invite close inspection, while holistic scenes of the oak evoke an idyllic seasonal atmosphere.
A charming celebration of the changing seasons. (Picture book. 3-7)