The picture book Tree Whispers: A Forest of Poems by Mandy Ross and illustrated by Juliana Oakley (Child’s Play May 2023) collects brief poems about trees which encourage children to get outside to enjoy nature. Most of the poems are conversational, and some don’t read like poems to me at all. The deceptively simple child-like illustrations were bright and gave personality to the friendly trees and diverse people illustrated enjoying nature.
The friendly tone on each page invites a young child to be a part of nature. For example, one page encourages a child to act like a tree and another page encourages examination of the insects under a tree and/or in a forest. Forest conservation is also mentioned toward the end of the book. One of my favorite pages was “Trees Breathe,” which focuses on explaining the concept of photosynthesis without saying that word. Another favorite of mine was “Count My Rings,” which explains how the tree’s inside rings tell the years of growth, with a reminder that cutting a tree to count the rings then stops that growth.
Overall, Tree Whispers feels a little bit immature for many elementary aged children, but selections from the book may help supplement learning about trees, and the colorful illustrations will capture a listener’s interest.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance review copy of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.