Nature is skillfully rendered in this beautiful story. Dee and Kaya Oldaker’s illustrations evoke the serenity and stillness that come with spending time in the natural world, whether that’s the fox resting in a twilight forest or the muted tones of sunlight slanting through the treetops. Humans are pictured first as indigenous hunter gatherers, but Dee goes through the progression from settlers in covered wagons to towns connected by roads to, eventually, the kiss of death for the forest’s inhabitants: once machines are invented “to move and do things faster,” the forest is whittled down to one lone bald cypress tree, starkly isolated by high rise buildings, robots, and spaceships. As the story’s most recent humans finally settle down to spend time with the tree, they reflect on the world’s changes that led to the trees’ near extinction.
Nature lovers of all ages will appreciate the book’s call to action. Dee closes with a plea for readers to plant new trees to change Earth’s current trajectory, as well as interesting facts about the bald cypress tree featured in the book. Careful readers will notice that once the trees are gone, humans must wear helmets to breathe, driving home the responsibility each reader has to save some of “the oldest living organisms on planet Earth.”
Takeaway: Beautiful call to action for young readers to save Earth’s trees.
Comparable Titles: Peter Wohlleben’s Can You Hear the Trees Talking?, Duncan Beedie’s The Lumberjack’s Beard.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A