In keeping with the fall friendly theme of trees, this week's Library Monday title is One Small Place in a Tree by Barbara Brenner (illustrated by Tom Leonard). Not so much a classic storybook as it is a scientific journey, One Small Place in a Tree uses colorful illustrations and flowing narrative to demonstrate the life cycle of a single tree in a forest ecosystem. Beginning with an oak tree in a forest full of similar oak trees, the story delves into the way that a hole is formed in the tree and then becomes an important resource for a community of small animals in a patch of the forest, even after the tree is no longer alive.
This book is a delight for any number of reasons, but I especially love the way that it makes the process of understanding a natural life cycle accessible to even young children. The clear text and detailed illustrations do an excellent job of demonstrating an important scientfic idea while also telling an interesting story that keeps young readers engaged. Mariam enjoys having this book read to her, but she also enjoys spending time looking through the pictures on her own and noticing the changes in the tree from page to page.
One Small Place in a Tree would be a great read at any time of the year, but it is especially good for the current shift of the seasons happening in our part of the world. We are watching fall quickly turn to (very cold!) winter and books like this one are a perfect way to better understand the connections between these changes in our own backyard and the bigger cycles of life.