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.