ONLY A TREE KNOWS HOW TO BE A TREE by Mary Murphy

ONLY A TREE KNOWS HOW TO BE A TREE

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A celebration of the uniqueness of trees—and birds, dogs, fish, the planet Earth, the universe, and each human being.

What makes this feel-good reflection on individuality stand out are the illustrations, childlike in their presentation but surprisingly detailed—especially the images of children of all colors, from peach and pink to tan and deep brown. Some are in ethnic dress, and some use wheelchairs or wear glasses. Picture readers can spend a lot of time looking at what they do: A child climbs a tree; another pretends to be a bird; children jump rope, blow bubbles, or simply talk with a friend; a child meditates; another carries an infant; and much, much more. Murphy begins by talking about things trees do: “turn sunshine into tree food,” change color, and shelter birds and animals. She goes on to birds, dogs, and fish, and then she widens her view to encompass the whole planet, “where we live,” and the entire universe before making her point: “Every comet, flower, cat, and beetle, every cloud, frog, stone, and duck, every mountain, river, and deer is different.” With the exception of the depiction of outer space, every spread includes at least one child. The simple text has been hand lettered, and the painterly illustrations include interesting dry textures. Even though many illustrations include tiny details, this will work well for groups as well as one-on-one.

A simple message delivered effectively. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 10th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5362-1470-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2019




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