Reviews for My Mother Talks to Trees
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 May 1999
Ages 5^-8. A little girl walks home from school with her mother, who stops to observe and encourage the trees along their route: "Hickory, look at your catkins! These boy flowers of yours will be dropping pollen in just a few days." Watching this unconventional behavior, her daughter is overcome by embarrassment, an emotion portrayed with conviction and sympathy. Gradually, though, the girl is won over, and in the end she speaks a few reassuring words to a little sapling in her yard. The colorful, softly shaded drawings are particularly graceful in their depiction of trees. The book ends with several pages of information about trees, illustrated with simple ink drawings. Though teachers will like the information-laden text in picture-book format, children will probably respond more to the girl's emotions than to the botany lessons. Many teachers will want this for their primary-grade tree units. ((Reviewed May 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
Library Talk Reviews 1999 November
What a wonderful way to incorporate learning into an everyday activity such as walking home from school. This book jumps off the pages and into real life, and is likely to help our future naturalists learn to recognize different tree species and identify the trees in their own backyards. The book follows Laura and her mother as they walk home together from school. Along the way, her mother talks to the trees. Embarrassed, the child tries to make it look like her mom is talking to her. As they pass each new tree, unique features of that tree are shared. Gradually, Laura learns details about each tree and how to tell the difference between them. Through colorful and accurate illustrations and easy-to-understand descriptions, children will learn and remember information about tree identification. A simple pictorial glossary restates the characteristics. It's a joy to watch students read this book and then see what they do when they walk by a tree on the playground. This is interactive learning at its best. Recommended. Joseph A. Buzzitta, Teacher/Technology Chairperson, Jeffco School District, Arvada, Colorado © 1999 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 March #5
A baseball-capped mom stops to talk to trees as she walks her daughter home from school: "Wow, little dogwood.... Redbud, you are beautiful." While the mother comforts a redbud recovering from winter's wiles and shouts encouragement to a maple's unripened seeds, her dismayed daughter tries to appear as normal as possible to passersby. However, after her mother converses with 10 common landscape trees, the daughter herself surreptitiously slips into a low, sympathetic tête-à-tête with the runt of a newly planted grove of walnut trees. Gove's text offers a few kid-pleasing, basic horticultural details within the mostly prosaic dialogue, but readers will likely find the minimal interaction between mother and daughter unconvincing. The flat dimension and crayon-like texture of newcomer Mallory's illustrations benefit from a bright palette and borders depicting close-ups of leaf, flower or fruit and, often, a small surprise (such as a nest-building bluebird unravels a mitten in the border of the sassafras spread). But the connection between the two characters is as absent in the drawings as it is from the text. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 1999 Publishers Weekly Reviews
School Library Journal Reviews 1999 July
Gr 1-4-As Laura and her mother walk home from school, Mom converses with trees, congratulating a dogwood on blooming for the first time, praising a redbud for surviving the winter, and thanking a persimmon for last year's fruit. Although Laura hopes none of her friends will see her mother's unusual behavior, she is interested in learning about the trees and even sneaks back to give the walnut sapling that she had planted on Arbor Day some verbal encouragement. By the end of the book, mother and daughter have introduced readers to 11 trees commonly found in the southern United States. Gove does a fine job of weaving botanical facts into the light plot of an afternoon walk. The colored-pencil illustrations are pleasing and the pen-and-ink sketches in the glossary give more precise identification data. This book would make a good companion to Patricia Lauber's Be a Friend to Trees (HarperCollins, 1994) and Joanne Oppenheim's poetry title, Have You Seen Trees? (Scholastic, 1995). It will also encourage children to notice and protect the trees around them.-Mollie Bynum, formerly at Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, AK Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.