by Douglas Florian
This book is ripe with poetrees,
They're grown to educate and please.
You'll see a cedar,
Oak tree too.
Birch and banyan,
Pine and yew,
Palm and gum,
And willow tree,
Plus more you'll love tree-mendously!
And true to its promise, Poetrees offers seed-sized lessons about the mighty trees. The font spacing and arrangement of text on some of the poems like The Seed, Tree Rings and Roots à la shape/concrete poems were interesting to behold (Janeczko's A Poke in the I comes to mind).
Some of the words have been spelled creatively to rhyme and I had fun discovering it with my six year old. For example in Tree Rings, "his-tree" at first baffled her but as we replaced it with "history" it made sense.
Plus, we learnt about Heartwood and Sapwood. Two things we didn't know before we read this particular poem.
Imagine a background zoomed in on the tree rings, with the text going around in a circle along one of the rings depicted.
Tree Rings: Tree rings show how trees grow. Wide rings: fast growth. Narrow rings: slow. Heartwood: dead wood. Sapwood: living. A tree's true his-tree free for the giving.
The large format book has huge double-page illustrations for each poem, in portrait orientation (rather than the usual landscape) so that we open the page and hold it up vertically to read and appreciate it in full.
And when I read, "Each poem is printed on a vertical double-page spread illustrated with mixed-media artwork in gouache, watercolor, colored pencil, rubber stamps, oil pastels, and collage on brown paper bags", I was doubly awed by what an interesting canvas the brown paper bag made.
Glossatree (Glossary) at the back of the book provides more information on each tree.