Winter Trees
by Carole Gerber

Price at time of review: $15.95
32 pp.
Charlesbridge Publishing
Watertown, MA
ISBN: 9781580891684

Grade Level: K-2

Reviewed by Jose Rios
Associate Professor

Like its predecessor Leaf Jumpers, Winter Trees uses simple pictures, engaging poems, and lots of color to teach children about tree identification. As readers follow a young boy and his dog through a forest, they are presented with the familiar sights and sounds of winter. Cleverly intertwined with these whimsical scenes are simple ways to tell one tree from another.

What I found unique about this book was its focus on the shapes and textures of trees, which is an effective way to engage young children in tree identification. For example, the trunks of maple, beech, and birch trees look and feel very different. Maples are egg-shaped, whereas a beech looks like a tall oval. The birch tree is v-shaped, which makes it easy to identify. If children have trouble distinguishing trees by their shape, they can also feel the bark. The bark of a maple tree is gray, whereas that of a beech tree is smooth and silver. Appealing to the senses of young children is a novel way to teach them about tree identification. It’s also a sneaky way to teach them science while walking through the park.

Carole Gerber has written another wonderful children’s book that is bound to please any K–2 student. Leslie Evans' illustrations capture the relevant details of each tree while creating a sense of a winter landscape. The uniqueness of the subject and the high quality of the text and illustrations have made this one of the NSTA/CBC Outstanding Tradebooks for 2009. This book would be a wonderful addition to any classroom or school library. I’m looking forward to sharing it with my two sons.

Review posted on 12/4/2008

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