This large (10.75 by 17.75 inches) Polish import has equally large illustrations, complementing facts about generic and specific trees’ lives, deaths, and after-death uses—and many more tree-related topics.
This is a book that encourages readers to flip through its pages; every double-page spread is chock-full of colorful, stylized, eye-catching art that takes up most of the space. The text, confined to one vertical margin per spread, is accessible if a bit prosaic (though occasionally florid)—and it covers a forest of categories. There are simplified explanations of how to distinguish a tree from other plants; photosynthesis; evolution; fossilization; how to fell a tree; uses by humans and animals; and more. Besides expected data about the world’s tallest and broadest trees, there is a fascinating timeline showing various points in human history during the life of CBR26, a giant sequoia cut down around 1900. Facts such as the existence of “living bridges” in India and rot-resistant pine in Norwegian churches motivate readers to seek more information elsewhere. There are some missed opportunities for exciting art, and it is puzzling why most, but not all, illustrations are carefully labeled. The retro style of the art spills into stereotypical renderings of people; the text, in kind, uses B.C. and A.D. and, in its section entitled “Trees in Religion,” describes the Quran as “the holy book of Islam”—but offers no description of “the Bible” and uses “myth” or “mythology” to describe non-Abrahamic cosmologies.
A good book for browsing or for starting tree-related research. (Informational picture book. 8-12)