What Do You See When You Look At A Tree?

What Do You See When You Look At A Tree?
Emma Carlisle
Big Picture Press

Trees are my very favourite thing in the natural world and I most definitely see much more than the ‘leaves and twigs and branches’ referred to in Emma Carlisle’s opening question in this arboreal delight. In fact on our daily walks my partner and I always stop and sit in a quiet spot surrounded by trees and enjoy being there, savouring each one. 

As Emma points out in her rhyming narrative, every tree is special and unique, always has been and always will be. It’s incredible how many different shapes and colours there are, and the variety of locations where trees grow, be they solitary or forming part of a wood or forest. All of this and much more, readers experience through the voice and senses of a child, and of course, Emma’s beautiful mixed media illustrations.

We’re reminded of the crucial role a single tree often plays in supporting and providing a safe place for animals be they birds, squirrels, foxes or other mammals, that might be found safely curled up in the root system.

I suspect many young readers will be surprised to learn that trees communicate with one another and like the girl narrator may ponder upon a tree’s history: what has it seen over the centuries; did children of past times play beneath it, or feel its bark? And what might the future hold for any particular tree? This too is considered in the book. 

Books themselves (modern ones certainly), as we’re reminded, wouldn’t exist without trees.

All the thought-provoking questions posed encourage youngsters (and adults) to appreciate not merely trees, but the natural world itself and the book concludes with suggestions for some mindfulness – Listening to Trees and How to Be More Like a Tree.

Published in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, this is wonderful book to share and discuss either at home or in the classroom before or after a walk among trees.

Hooray For Small Girl With Big Imaginations

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Lion Practice
Emma Carlisle
Macmillan Children’s Books
In this warm-hearted story that celebrates the imagination we meet Laura: she has a penchant for practice, pretty much any kind of practice so long as it involves being big and/or noisy.

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So when her mother suggests she should practise being something small and quiet, Laura is having none of it – no way; her sights are set on something rather different.
But what is all this about you might be wondering. Her parents certainly don’t appreciate it.
Well, perhaps Laura just wants to be in the limelight because…

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Maybe she’ll settle for being a little lion after all – it does have its compensations

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and there’s always tomorrow for this resilient little miss …
Emma Carlisle is an emerging talent. Her free flowing illustrations have the uninhibited spirit of the unselfconscious artist one images Laura herself would be.
I look forward to what comes next…

Another small girl with a large imagination is featured in debut author Jenna Harrington’s:

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Katie McGinty Wants a Pet!
Jenna Harrington and Finn Simpson
Little Tiger Press
The great day has finally arrived: Katie McGinty is big enough to have a pet


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– but this tricky miss doesn’t want a common or garden hamster, cat, or dog. Oh no! What she has set her heart on is something much more exciting  …

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And seemingly she’s thought things through pretty carefully as she demonstrates to her perplexed parent on their walk to the pet shop: “Don’t be silly Daddy! … He’ll eat pizza and fish fingers and spaghetti with us at the table … “ is her response to his concerns about the lack of grass in their garden and of course, their bath isn’t large enough. “I’ll have to wash him at the swimming pool!” she informs him.
Dad tries to let her down gently as they reach their destination but he hasn’t quite anticipated the very special bargain on offer …

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Finn Simpson’s exuberant scenes show much more than is said in the words. He captures the gentle playful humour of Jenna Harrington’s deliberately straightforward delivery, much of which is dialogue, extending and embellishing it with laugh out loud fantasies.

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