Hobbit – Tuesday Trees

It’s hard to scratch the surface on the ferny forest of tree titles available to young readers that celebrate that most woody of Hobbit-land evoking entities.

cedar-key-christmas-tree-inside-0011

But, as someone who leafed through her chapter book pages in a dogwood tree during aboreal child days, I’ve liked planting this list.  Climb a favorite branch, if you’re in a temperate climate, & take a peek.

NUTS TO YOU text & art by Lois Ehlert

THE BUSY TREE text by Jennifer Ward, artwork by Lisa Falkenstern

CHERRY TREE text by Ruskin Bond & artwork from Allan Eitzen

PLANTING THE TREES OF KENYA – text & artwork by Claire A. Nivola

POETREES poems & artwork by Douglas Florian

THE GREAT KAPOK TREE text & artwork by Lynne Cherry

THE CURIOUS GARDEN text & artwork by Peter Brown

THE MONEY TREE text by Sarah Stewart & artwork by David Small

STUCK text & artwork by Oliver Jeffers

TREE-RING CIRCUS, text & artwork by Adam Rex

WE PLANTED a TREE text by Diane Muldrow & artwork by Bob Staake

WELCOME TO THE GREEN HOUSE text by Jane Yolen & artwork by Laura Reagan

CELEBRITREES text & by Margi Preus & artwork by Rebecca Gibbon

THIS IS THE TREE text by Miriam Moss & artwork by Adrienne Kennaway

THE OAK INSIDE THE ACORN text by Max Lucado & artwork by George Angelini

THE KISSING HAND text by Audrey Penn & artwork by Ruth Harper/Nancy Leak (because of where Chester ends up….)

LINNEA IN MONET’S GARDEN – text by Christina Bjork, artwork by Lena Anderson

thumbnail.aspx            The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein) & The Lorax (Dr. Seuss) are two famous books for young readers about trees.

After experiencing the good fortune of spending time under and around the ethereal Lichgate Oak at this event, I visited trees in lesser-known books where trees are central to the story, or are characters, for young readers.

Some picture books listed are favorites I returned to & others are new to me & perhaps to you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this no -particular -order offering.

Imaginary acorns to those who add a title/comment.

This article is part of Bookseedstudio’s Tuesday Trees, where Jan roots for the proliferation and longevity of our saplings and also for their mature elders, even if they aren’t alders. It is inspired by our community-wide project to celebrate arbors.  

For more on the lovely fishing net tree at the top of this column, please see this previous Bookseedstudio column.

Green Poetry

Kermit’s green is a color that surrounds us here in North Florida so you would think it is hard to miss. But guess what – don’t we all experience how that which is familiar, can become less special?

But, Ho! Visitors from the parched West arrive. And they play in our nature’s backyard. And so we play, too. And it’s like feeling the world anew with the sensory overload of a healthy toddler.

“Green! It’s so green here,” they marvel, these green-seeking, water-wanting folks. And they are right, thank them. Through their eyes my hubby & I see our gorgeous green world, again. And in celebration, I’m sharing the color green from three poets writing for children.

 

THE GREAT BIG GREEN by Peggy Gifford, with illustrations from my friend Lisa Desimini, is the newest book.

 

“The thing is,

the thing is green.

And the green is,

the green is green.

And by green I mean

real

mean

I mean

dragon green

anaconda green

electric-eel green

green-iguanas-in-the-sun green.”

c. 2014 Peggy Gifford

c. Lisa Desimini and Peggy Gifford

c. Lisa Desimini and Peggy Gifford

 

 

I like the way Peggy dips into the hues and presents  tints of greens not always covered in books about colors for children. The surprise riddle that runs through this picture book is fun to test whether you & the kiddos can solve this one. I think you will!

Lisa provides a note about the scanning of her own skin, photos & other materials for the mixed media collages, including green marble from the Emerald Isle, Ireland.

The spectrum of inventive green art & word imagery of THE GREAT BIG GREEN make this a mighty fine addition to any colorful bookshelf for young readers.

 

WELCOME TO THE GREEN HOUSE by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Laura Regan is the first book about the tropical rainforest (as opposed to our U.S. Pacific NW rainforest) that our family spent time with when our college age daughter was a toddler. It’s a challenge to pick just a few lines to share but here goes:

 

“…where the slow, green-coated sloth

and the quick-fingered capuchin

make their slow-quick ways

from room to room

in the green house,

in the dark green,

light green,

bright green,

copper green,

blue green,

ever-new green house.”

c.1993 Jane Yolen

 

My signed copy is on the To Mail shelf, as it was won just this week, here.

But the claimant didn’t have a chance yet to come forward with a postal address so if that continues, I may become fortunate & move it back to my permanent poetry pile.

 

c. Jane Yolen and Laura Regan

c. Jane Yolen and Laura Regan

 

HAILSTONES & HALIBUT BONES by Mary O’Neill with illustrations by John Wallner (Leonard Weisgard created art for the very first edition) is the standard against which I think about books on color for children. We received this modern classic (with a storylife of its own as a multimodal way of sharing color with sightless or low-vision children) as a family gift from writer/editor Susan Cerulean when my hubby & I were new to parenting. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate how this sophisticated yet accessible book would work wonders. It’s a book to have read to you, with your eyes closed, as each color is represented in a Mary O’Neill poem through the feeling it can create.

HAILSTONES & HALIBUT BONES is a deft, deep & delicious collection of poems about colors. I know I haven’t seen every childrens’ book on all the colors, but I’m guessing that if I did, HH&B would sill rank with as my personal best.

 

Here is Mary O’Neill on, “What is Green?”

 

“Green is the grass

And the leaves of trees

Green is the smell

Of a country breeze.

Green is lettuce

And sometimes the sea

When green is a feeling

You pronounce it N.V.

Green is a coolness

You get in the shade

Of the tall old woods

Where the moss is made.”

c. 1961 Mary O’Neill

c. Mary O'Neill and John Wallner

c. Mary O’Neill and John Wallner

 

“Green Poetry” article citation: Bookseedstudio/Jan Godown Annino April 11, 2014

c. all rights reserved

 

Florida Christmas tree 2

Last year the Florida Christmas tree posted on this blog shone with lights.

No branches. Strings of lights at the Cedar Key marina

glowing in the dark like a beacon.

c. Jan Godown Annino

c. Jan Godown Annino

Now for a tree like none you’ve ever seen,

I’ve reprised an image I took years ago, during a visit with

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper in South Florida.

This tree stood tall in the Seminole Tribe of Florida

headquarters, with a palm tree nodding nearby.

The tree is typical. Maybe yours is tall & green.

Red bows are standard. So are basic balls.

But the dolls!

How many trees have you seen, where dolls are the decoration.

Handmade dolls.

Dolls made with palm fibers. And dressed to represent

Seminole patchwork clothing. For the textile, fabric art

& history buff this tree is  worth a detour.

(Respect copyright. All rights reserved with these images.)

This is a little visit, here.

Or maybe it will inspire you to plan your trip.

c. Jan Godown Annino all rights reserved

c. Jan Godown Annino all rights reserved

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

trees

In parts of the world, but not where I live in North Florida, plants are stretching tall in springtime.

We always appreciate trees when the leaves are new. But I think in the fall & winter, when the  full show of their

green is absent, this is a time to consider what our every day world would be like, if we lived in a land where the trees as we understood them to grow naturally, in woods, & in clumps at seepages of water, down hillsides and circling fileds, were only planted in rows.  Or if the trees weren’t there at all. Maybe you have lived without the cloaks of trees. But I have not. I grew up by a woods. My mother recited the line, “Woodman! spare that tree,” to me about the youth who was sheltered by a tree & could therefore not cut it, when he was older.

When I read children’s books about the tree woman of Kenya, Wangari Maathai, I felt that she must have loved being a little girl, & that in that time of her life, she must have loved trees.  The shade of them, the fruit of them, the branches of them.

There are several good children’s books about her. The one I currently have is from author/artist Claire A. Nivola.

Like all good books, it made me want to know more about what happened to Kenya’s trees. And about how Ms. Maathai brought them back.

So my bedside reading right now is Unbowed: a memoir by Wangari Maathai.


Florida Christmas

A tree in CEDAR KEY

photo, Jan G. Annino  2008

cedar-key-christmas-tree-inside-0011

A pole.

A fishing net cast over a pole.

Seashells in the net.

(Let’s hope they are castaways &

weren’t taken live.)

Colored lights.

Cheers at Christmas.

The necklace of Cedar Key islands tip-toeing into the Gulf of Mexico are where cedar forests were lumbered-out for the world’s pencils (think Faber pencils, etc.)

So I like it that the village of Cedar Key’s marina tree

isn’t using up a living one.

Muir fans know the Cedar Keys as  the region where John

Muir regained his strength after his 1,000 mile walk to

the Gulf of Mexico.  I wonder if in his knapsack on that trip he

kept his journal with the assist of a Faber cedar pencil.

Greetings from Florida &  from  Jan G. Annino, a book-published writer of  creative-nonfiction,   new writer of children’s literature, at work on an  mfa in children’s literature from Hollins University.