Review Detail

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
5.0
Learning Value 
 
5.0
A small acorn chronicles her life in diary format from her start to her twentieth year. We see how an acorn grows, falls, is spread by animals, and starts to grow as a tree. With each passing year, the tree gets bigger, and faces some challenges. During this process, we learn about tree related functions such as photosynthesis, water consumption, and deflection of pests. Afterwords include the anatomy of a tree, a breakdown of the functions of the heartwood, and a pictorial representation of the life cycle of a tree. There is also a reading list and well as a few websites for future exploration.
Good Points
I very much enjoyed the fact that this picture book, while not overly wordy, gave a great overview of the growth of a tree. Picture books with tiny text and lots of words can be a challenge to read aloud to squirmy youngsters and are often better suited for older, independent readers, but this story would be one that would be easy to read on a nightly basis!

The pictures are charming, with the trees having slightly cartoonish, anthropomorphic features that are quite endearing. I am basing the gender of the tree on the fact that she talks about her mother and grandmother tree, and also the fact that she has eyelashes, whereas some trees do not. There are plenty of animals and insects populating the forest as well. Many of the illustrations have a glowing quality to them, showcasing light streaming through tree branches or illuminating a creek.

Introducing STEM topics, as well as environmental ones, at a young age is a great way to encourage young readers to enjoy science and to eventually pursue careers in it, and to take care of the earth. This book could lead to a lot of fun discussions and activities, such as trying to grow a seedingly from an acorn. Teachers who use picture books in elementary settings to teach about the natural world will want to include this among such tree books as Rusch's Zee Grows a Tree, Valentini's Stay, Little Seed and Long's Little Tree.
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