A rangy introduction to trees and how they sustain our very existence.
Tate jumps right in, letting readers know that trees are sometimes obscured by the forest and taken for granted. But, as she points out, trees provide creatures of every stripe with indispensable shelter, food, oxygen, water filtration, soil enrichment, and a source for heat, with their very beauty in evidence on every page via sharp, chromatic photographs. She tells of trees’ fundamental importance to the earth, air, water, and fire—no other subject comes close to being so important to these elemental states—and also, through various boxed items, provides good, attention-grabbing facts: ironwood sinks; read time and weather in tree rings. Perhaps most significantly, she conveys a sense of how trees serve as barometers to environmental health and trouble. The text is for the most part aptly paced and communicative, with minor episodes of droning: “A carefully planted and managed woodlot is made up of tree species selected for particular qualities like speed of growth or the type of wood produced.” Only rarely is the subject not explained adequately, as in phytoremediation (a word with forgettable value here): “Even though you can’t see them, tree roots play a critical role in keeping forest ecosystems in good shape.” Because...?
Still, a solid foundation, a taproot to appreciating the incredible diversity and contribution of trees to our everyday lives. (resources, glossary index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)