Myths and legends surrounding trees and forests make up this picture book.
Seventeen tree species from around the world and four forests (Madagascar’s Alley, or Avenue, of the Baobabs, Sherwood Forest, the Amazon rainforest, and the Black Forest) are introduced to readers via the myths and legends associated with them. Each double-page spread features a substantial illustration accompanied by text that includes a brief notation about the height of the tree in metric units (or trees in the case of the forest entries) and notes whether it is deciduous or evergreen as well as other qualities before relaying the myth or legend associated with it. Several of the entries read like (and are remarkably similar to) the Wikipedia entries on the same subjects. Illustrator Alonso’s color illustrations, in a bright but hardly nature-hued palette, have a stylized, silk-screened look. With their flat shapes and saturated color, they come across as quite heavy and impassive. While several illustrations depict people of many ethnicities and cultures, some don’t illustrate the tree the text is addressing, which may be frustrating to readers who may not know what, say, a hawthorn tree looks like. The book’s final illustration, a double-page spread, does show and label each tree in a forestlike arrangement, which is handy for height and spatial comparison.
A rather flat compilation of tree and forest legends and myths accompanied by stolid illustrations. (Picture book/folklore. 5-10)