Longlisted for the Picture Book Category of the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award
Tree is a beautiful peek-through picture book that explores the changing of the seasons. Focusing on one tree in the forest, the reader is shown how the natural world changes as the seasons come and go. Written in rhyming couplets with careful selection of language, the whole cycle is depicted. Tree is delightfully illustrated throughout with the added joy of cut- outs which reveal different animals as the tree and the surrounding woodland slowly wake up after the coldness of winter. Soon, as spring and summer arrive, the tree is bustling with creatures. As pages continue to be turned, the animals slowly disappear, until finally the hush of winter falls upon the tree once more.
This is a striking picture book that can be enjoyed over and over again. It will teach young children to recognise the signs of the changing seasons by looking at the colours of the sky and foliage, observing the wildlife, and listening to the sounds of the woodland. At a very early age, children could be guided to simply pick out colours, count animals and notice the change from page to page.
There are countless creative writing opportunities for children across the primary age:
Writing in role: children could take on the role of one of the animals or even the tree itself, and write a diary on a particular day in a particular season, or even an extended piece to compare the changes it experiences.
Poetry: a simple poem that contains one stanza for each season would encourage children be selective with their language. They could chose to mimic the rhyming pattern of the text and may wish to include some of the seasonal vocabulary. Children could write a poem that personifies the tree, describing how the tree changes its ‘clothes’ with the seasons or even how the tree’s emotions fluctuate.
British Trees: this could be an excellent opportunity for children to explore trees in greater detail. Through looking at the classification of trees found in our woodlands and careful study of their leaves, children could gain greater insight into the natural world that is all around them, learning how particular trees change through the season (through conkers, acorns, cherry blossoms). Such work could also branch out into scientific classification and sorting activities including flow maps. Agencies such as the Woodland Trust might be very helpful in this area. http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/
Geography: children could consider what the story might look like if the tree was elsewhere in the world. Do all trees encounter the same changes? Do all countries have the same seasons?
Tree is a stunning picture book, with a simple, engaging theme. Published to an extremely high standard, on thick tactile paper, it will withstand a lot of love from little hands (which is a good job as it is sure to be enjoyed over and over again).
Tree – Seasons Come, Seasons Go
Patricia Hegarty (author) Britta Teckentrup (illustrator)
Little Tiger Kids (publisher) ISBN: 978- 1848691810