Be A Tree! written by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Felicita Sala


            Be A Tree! written by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Felicita Sala, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2021. 9781419744228

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Format: Hardcover Picture book

What did you like about the book? This beautifully illustrated book celebrates trees and urges humans to be like them.  “Be a tree!  Stand tall.  Stretch your branches to the sun.” Each illustration is mirrored by a small person – here, stretching his arms to the sky.  “Let your roots curl, coil in the soil to ground you.”  Roots dominate the illustration here with fungi attached and little animals living amongst them and a little girl making friends with a snail.  Humans share some attributes with trees: “In your heart’s center is your pith, keeper of nutrients when you were a sapling.”  This illustration shows the similarities between the body of a tree and the body of a human.  Illustrations are done with watercolor, gouache and colored pencils. Included is an Author’s Note, Five ways you can help save trees and Be a forest: How you can help in your community. The Anatomy of a tree follows which details each part of a tree.  And, of course, there is Further reading and viewing which includes Websites.  Inside front and back covers illustrate and name leaves from various trees.  Children of all colors are represented.

Anything you did not like about the book?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book? A group of young children might use some of the directions for striking yoga poses.  If used with a class, children can decide on their own characteristics that they share with trees.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, K-1 classrooms and libraries, child-care centers

Where would you shelve it?  Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No, but food for thought certainly.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review:  February 18, 2022

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