The Gentle Genius of Trees

Crown. Jan. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593567814.
Gr 2-4–A surprising amount of factual information about the biology of trees is served up with humor and rounded out with life lessons readers can take from the leafy giants that share the planet. Photosynthesis and carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange are economically explained. Children will be intrigued to learn of the role of an underground “wood-wide web” of mycelium that allows trees to communicate and share nutrients with one another. Bunting recommends emulating trees by supporting one another, appreciating diversity, and “push[ing] yourself toward the things that give you the most energy.” Sprinkled throughout are quips, puns, and riddles that will entice kids to read every word, although some vocabulary will be challenging for the age group, such as foliaged, subterranean, and mutually beneficial. Pictures created with collage, gouache, and digital painting are arranged with plenty of clean space around them. Diagrams and labeled sequences add visual interest.
VERDICT A playful yet appreciative overview of tree life that can be enjoyed by a slightly younger audience than Can You Hear the Trees Talking? by Peter Wohlleben.

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