Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

The Tree that Bear Climbed by Marianne Berkes, 32 pages.

There are many parts to a tree, and all of them have a role to play in its well-being. Roots anchor it in the ground, prevent soil erosion and draw in water and nutrients. The trunk moves water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, which draw in sunlight and carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. The tree’s leaves and branches shelter birds, bees and many other creatures, and some types of trees bear edible fruit.
Trees are a very vital part of our world.
In The Tree that Bear Climbed, Marianne Berkes introduces one part of a tree and its environment at a time – the soil, roots, trunk, branches, leaves, sun, blossoms, pollen, etc. as a young bear climbs high up into a tree where a beehive is overflowing with honey. Young readers will chuckle at the conclusion to this cumulative story when some very angry bees react to the young bear’s arrival at their hive.
The entertaining story, the detailed artwork and four pages of learning activities at the end of the book will enlighten children about the important interaction between trees/plants and animals, and about the many ways in which we benefit from trees.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 8 years.

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! By Uma Krishnaswami, 24 pages.
A dusty mud path ran through a village. Every day, people and animals would walk along the path, traveling from here to there and back again.
One day, a little boy discovered something small and green in the middle of the path. It was a sapling. The little boy took some rocks and put them around the tree to protect it just as the local mango seller rushed past, calling “Out of the way! Out of the way!”
As time passed, the tree grew bigger and bigger. Its trunk thickened and its branches spread wider and wider. One day, a pair of birds built their nest in the tree.
As the tree grew still larger, more birds, and squirrels too, sat in the tree. People gathered beneath it, grateful for the shade that its canopy provided.
Years later, the path became a road. It was graded and flattened by machines, which were careful to avoid the large tree.
By this time, the village had become a bustling city.
Now, all sorts of noisy traffic rushed by the tree, traveling from here to there and back again – bicycles, scooters, cars, buses and trucks. The tree remained standing in the middle of the busy road, a small oasis of peace, still sheltering birds and other creatures and providing shade, its roots digging deep into the ground and its leaves rustling in the evening breeze.
Then one day, an elderly man visited the magnificent tree with his grandchildren and paused to remember the tree as a small sapling needing protection in the middle of a dusty path….
This insightful story, set in India, evokes the peace and the magic that a tree can instill in our too-busy world.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 8 years. 

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on April 18, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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