Monday, August 29, 2011

Children's Book Monday {Evening}

For weekly book recommendations, 
please visit Elise's Children's Book Monday at  A Path Made Straight


A B Cedar: An Alphabet of Trees

by George Ella Lyon
illustrated by Tom Parker

When doing a library search for books to accompany our in-depth nature study on trees this year, I stumbled across this title.  Being an older book (copyright 1989), the library had no little thumbnail photo to accompany the listing, but I put it on hold anyway, thinking perhaps it would be the perfect choice for the little boys to share while the two older children were sketching or reading a more age-appropriate selection. 

When the book came in and I picked up the hold, I flipped through it and then tucked it at the bottom of my stack of tree books.  This morning, while everyone was busy at the table, Benjamin needed something to do so I pulled the book back out and we sprawled on our bellies right in the middle of the dining room floor.  I was expecting an alphabet book.  Instead I opened up a most fascinating peek into the world of trees!  I was so impressed that after we finished, I re-read it to Owen a few minutes later ...and told Brian all about it this evening ...and read it again to all the kids tonight before bed. 

Each page highlights two to four different trees.  For example, Aspen, Butternut, and Cedar share a  double-page spread.  Life-sized children's hands are sketched holding a life-sized leaf  from each tree.  My children were amazed at the large umbrella tree leaf and the teak leaf that ran off the page.  Some pages even show seed pods or fruits. Benjamin insisted that the elderberries were actually blueberries, but because they were drawn to scale, we (I) knew they were not.  Maddie enjoyed repeating the name of each tree and Gavin made it his mission to give his made-up etymology of the trees he had never heard of.  "Kumquat sounds Chinese," he said (And what do you know?  He's right!), "and Nannyberry sounds like a rich tree."

I was most intrigued by the illustrations down at the bottom of each page.  Directly above the name of each tree was a  tiny silhouette of that tree, and surrounding the tree silhouette were teensy silhouettes of people and animals, intended to give perspective on how large the tree is in comparison.  The kids were particularly amazed at the tall skinny Poplar tree with the human silhouettes far below its towering top. 

Did I mention that following the Zebrawood tree, a handful of poetic lines follow, sharing a few uses of the tree. Yes, this book is infinitely more than a pre-school alphabet book because, though Benjamin did run his finger over the line of printed letters and sing the ABC song more than once, he also learned that the pages of the book itself had been made from a tree. 

Happy learning, happy leafing...and happy reading!


  1. I'll have to pick this one up for our science box this fall.

  2. This sounds neat, Kristin! I can't wait to see all the great tree resources you are going to add to our list. :)



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