Every tree has its own story to tell in this evocative collection of poems celebrating the many varieties—from maple to willow to oak.
There are so many different kinds of trees in the world, and each has special qualities that make it unique. This lyrical, fanciful collection of poems celebrates the singular beauty of each tree, from the gnarled old apple tree to the tall and graceful aspen.
Verlie Hutchens is an author and artist who lives in a wildly cluttered house in Easthampton, Massachusetts, after a lifetime of living in the outdoors as much as possible. She has been a lover of trees and birds and animals since she was a child, and the trees in her picture book Trees are all ones she has known personally.
Free verse poems succinctly extol the virtues of 14 types of trees. For example, “Aspen, tall and graceful, / dances on her tippy toes. / Her golden leaves like castanets / shimmer in the breeze.” A double-spread illustration accompanies the words and shows aspen trees in autumn with their bright golden leaves in front of snow-capped mountains. The wide variety of trees mentioned include palm, red bud, dogwood, white pine, birch, and willow. Poems, consisting of only one or two sentences, explain why each type of tree is unique and special. The illustrations, “rendered as a digital collage of block print and hand-painted elements,” are lovely and include other living creatures in addition to each highlighted tree, such as people, birds, cats, and squirrels. Tall trees—oak, spruce, and sequoia—require the book to be turned vertically for the poems to be read and the illustrations admired. Many of the pictures have swirls in the background, reminiscent of the rings of a tree, that also make up the front and back endpapers. Some poems are lighthearted, such as the red bud with its “pink-purple giggles,” while others are reverent: “The sequoia holds memories for the Tribe of Trees.” Flowing words and striking illustrations combine beautifully in this tribute. — Maryann Owen