A thought-provoking arboreal exploration.



This globe-trotting, poetic homage pays tribute to some of nature’s most unusual trees.

More than 73,000 species of trees exist on Earth, and, as Delacre explains at the end of the book, this volume focuses on some of the rarer 9,000 that most humans will never encounter. As told through a grandfather’s recounting to a granddaughter (brown-skinned and cued as Latine), with some unitalicized Spanish included, this work looks at trees such as General Sherman, a giant Sequoia in Tulare County, California; the African baobab; and the rainbow gum, found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. Remarkably, Delacre has incorporated leaves from the actual trees into the book’s vivid illustrations. Unfortunately, a sense of place is lost amid the verse (“its white hanging bells, / laden with sweet-sour scent, / lure bats from beyond”). It’s not until the backmatter, which includes a note from Delacre and a section on the importance of trees, that the locations and names of the trees covered are made explicit. There’s so much good information here that it’s a shame so much of it isn’t more effectively woven into the narrative. Still, the material as a whole is a deep dive into a fascinating aspect of the natural world.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

A thought-provoking arboreal exploration. (websites, bibliography) (Nature picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2040-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.


Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer.


Rotner follows up her celebrations of spring and autumn with this look at all things winter.

Beginning with the signs that winter is coming—bare trees, shorter days, colder temperatures—Rotner eases readers into the season. People light fires and sing songs on the solstice, trees and plants stop growing, and shadows grow long. Ice starts to form on bodies of water and windows. When the snow flies, the fun begins—bundle up and then build forts, make snowballs and snowmen (with eyebrows!), sled, ski (nordic is pictured), skate, snowshoe, snowboard, drink hot chocolate. Animals adapt to the cold as well. “Birds grow more feathers” (there’s nothing about fluffing and air insulation) and mammals, more hair. They have to search for food, and Rotner discusses how many make or find shelter, slow down, hibernate, or go underground or underwater to stay warm. One page talks about celebrating holidays with lights and decorations. The photos show a lit menorah, an outdoor deciduous tree covered in huge Christmas bulbs, a girl next to a Chinese dragon head, a boy with lit luminarias, and some fireworks. The final spread shows signs of the season’s shift to spring. Rotner’s photos, as always, are a big draw. The children are a marvelous mix of cultures and races, and all show their clear delight with winter.

A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3976-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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