Beatrice Was a Tree

HarperCollins/Greenwillow. May 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062741264.
K-Gr 2–Look at the trees. Beginning with labeled leaf shapes on end pages, the reader’s eye moves on to stylized folk art images of trees and the fluid movements of fair-skinned, dark-haired Beatrice as she climbs a tree, hangs upside down, and briefly tries to ignore the call to come in for the night. She can easily visualize staying outside the full night: “If I were a tree....” Her arms grow into tree shape with trunk and bark, with branches and leaves that move with the breeze. Birds catch the morning sun, squirrels appear, followed by caterpillars, deer, spiders, and a sleepy owl. The tree then sends roots to burrow into soil with earthworms, chipmunks, vole, and mice. As Beatrice dreams of her tree, each page brings the reader a new seasonal digital collage with watercolor, acrylic, and gouache, ending with brief simple sentences and the quiet of fallen snow. An infographic page emphasizes how animals use trees, including a labeled diagram of tree parts, the seasons, an explanation of photosynthesis, and encouragement to plant.
VERDICT A suggested general purchase for all libraries, the book is a lovely art tribute to the beauty of trees through Beatrice’s dream—interrupted by a persistent voice and the annoying final call, “Beatrice, Bed! Now!”

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