Published February 9th 2016 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Format read: Finished Copy via publisher
Children will love seeing a new set of animals appear and then disappear as each page is turned, and along the way they’ll learn about the seasons and how a forest and its inhabitants change throughout the year.
Author/illustrator Britta Teckentrup walks through the the seasons in Tree, vís-a-vís a wise old owl who lives in the aforementioned tree. With the tree acting as the central figure throughout for the changing seasons, we see the animals, bugs and nature that change around them.
While Teckentrup's story isn't necessarily a complex one, it's a beautiful and much-needed one. She lovingly illustrates how lives and settings can change across the four seasons, while concurrently emphasizing that even in the midst of all that change, there are solid foundations like the tree and the owl, which will remain the same.
The natural passage of each season is emphasized by Teckentrup's matter-of-fact prose, with sentences like “The seasons have all come and gone. / Snow has fallen, sun has shone. // Owl sees the first new buds appear, / and so begins another year….” that help emphasize the circular nature of another year.
Visually, Teckentrup makes the unique choice of utilizing block-shapes for the trees, animal and setting, alongside a matted look and a streamlined color palette. The simplicity of her choices help emphasize both the owl and the cutouts, and also makes it easy for younger readers to make the visual transition from season to season.
Bottom line: Britta Teckentrup's Tree shares a simple but always-needed life lesson about life and the four seasons, utilizing stylistic cutouts that will make this book an unforgettable one. This is one book that will earn a much-loved place on many shelves for generations to come.
About the author:
BRITTA TECKENTRUP has written and illustrated over seventy children’s books, which have been published in over twenty countries. Her books include the bestselling Big Smelly Bear, Grumpy Cat, and The Odd One Out. Born in Hamburg, Germany, and educated in London at St. Martin’s College and the Royal College of Art, she currently lives with her family in Berlin.