Monday, May 10, 2010

The Busy Tree

"I'm a tree, a busy tree...come and see."

So begins the story The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward with illustrations by Lisa Falkenstern. In beautiful rhyme, Ms. Ward explores every part of an oak tree from its roots to its boughs introducing such wonderful words such as hollow, prowl and hatchlings. As the oak tree grows tall, the reader sees the many creatures that rely on the tree to live. Ants, chipmunks, and spiders are among the creatures that the illustrator brings to life through her oil paintings. The story comes full circle as the children who play in the shade of the tree plant an acorn which creates another busy tree.

"These are my boughs that creak, bend, and sway,
shading the children below as they play."

This is Emmy's favorite page as she wishes that she could be on the swing hanging from the
tree branch. We've had the opportunity this year to really watch the trees change through the four seasons and Emmy has shown such interest in these changes. Each morning, when I open her curtains, Emmy will tell me what the tree outside of her window looks like. Right now its branches are fully covered in the most beautiful bright green leaves.

Not only is Jennifer Ward instilling the importance of literacy through her books, she is also encouraging her readers to get out into nature and discover its beauty. In addition to her large number of children's books with a focus on nature, Ms. Ward has created two wonderful resources for parents and teachers.
(best for ages four to nine)

(best for ages eight to twelve)

What I love most about both of these books is the way that Ms. Ward presents ideas that allow parents and children to slow down and really engage with their surroundings. Each book has 52 activities designed to capture young minds and all four senses. These books, along with an explorers kit full of essentials such as, binoculars, magnifying glass, cloth bag for collecting, notebook and pencil, field guides, camera, bottles of water, sunscreen and insect repellent, would be a great thing to have on hand for the upcoming summer months. I think I will create my kit and keep it in the car.

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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