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THE BOOK OF AMAZING TREES by Nathalie Tordjman


by Nathalie Tordjman ; illustrated by Julien Norwood & Isabelle Simler ; translated by David Colmer

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-61689-971-4
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

From France, an encyclopedic encomium to trees.

Five chapters are further broken down into double-page spreads with headlined text and many labeled illustrations. The first chapter (“Amazing Plants”) is engrossing and scientific except for the glaring contradiction in this glib subheading: “Trees are plants that tower high in the sky.” Why glaring? Directly next to it are three finely detailed, labeled drawings of heather, gorse, and hazelnut. Their subheading is “Trees grow in every size!”—and, indeed, heather’s maximum height of 3 feet emphasizes a height range that dips far below “towering.” The rest of the double-page spread includes an excellent list of five characteristics that distinguish trees from other plants; an appealing sidebar explaining why palm and bamboo are not trees; and a detailed illustration of an English oak with arrows pointing out basic components. Throughout, text and layout are accessible and engaging, with a variety that includes straight facts about leaves, growth, reproduction, and communication, as well as activities such as multiple-choice quizzes and directions to figure out a tree’s height. The art is a great boon, exuding an aura of reverence in its careful details and coloration. Interspersed seek-and-find pages are an exemplary collaboration of art and text that encourages readers to use observation skills to learn additional arboreal information. Pretty double-page spreads show specific sites with labeled trees. Below, details from the scene accompany questions such as, “Which tree doesn’t let anything grow at its base?”

Worthy leafing.

(contents, index, answers) (Informational picture book. 6-9)