About the Holiday
International Day of Forests was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 to raise awareness of the importance of trees in vast woodlands or in your neighborhood or yard. Trees contribute to the quality of the air we breathe, improve the local climate, reduce noise pollution, shelter wildlife, and provide food for people and animals. This year’s theme is Forests and Sustainable Cities and aims to promote the integration of trees and vegetation within urban and surrounding areas. The benefits are many, from encouraging health lifestyles to providing fresh water to flood prevention to beautification. Clever architecture and infrastructure can create cities and towns that are healthy and happy to live in! For more information visit the UN International Day of Forests website.
Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book
By Britta Teckentrup
In the midst of winter, the tree stands bare of leaves. Tucked away in a hole “Owl sits watching in his tree / No one sees as much as he.” He watches as the snow melts and young flowers, grass, and plants begin sprouting. Then bear cubs leave their hibernation and climb the tree where Owl sits.
Young leaves and colorful blossoms cover the tree and flutter in the breeze as a spider spins her web and more baby animals come to frolic. In the branches, “squirrels scamper here and there. / Playful fox cubs sniff the air.” Birds stop by to rest and sing, while others build nests high in the treetop. The little fox has found a friend as summertime approaches.
“Now summer’s here, the sun is high, / Bees are humming in the sky.” Butterflies flit and ladybugs crawl, and the scent of “juicy apples, ripe and sweet” fills the air. Midsummer brings its own delights. The tree welcomes baby birds and the newborn foxes that sleep below under the starlit sky.
The air turns cooler in early fall and “apples tumble to the ground. Grass is damp with morning dew. / Clouds drift across the skies of blue.” The green leaves turn red, orange, and yellow, and Owl watches as the animals begin gathering food for the long winter ahead. Soon, snow falls and the animals find shelter in the woods and underground.
A blanket of snow covers the earth, but in his nest Owl stays cozy. The forest is quiet, as if asleep. “The seasons have all come and gone. / Snow has fallen, sun has shone. / Owl sees the first new buds appear, / And so begins another year….”
Britta Teckentrup’s Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book is an interactive triumph of design and story that begins with the cover where a little owl peeks out of his hole deep in the tree. As each season approaches, matures, and gives way to the next in Techentrup’s lovely verses, readers watch along with Owl as bear cubs, squirrels, birds, and bees also take up residence in the tree. With the turn of each page and as the seasons get warmer, die-cut holes reveal the animals, birds, and insects playing among the branches. When summer wanes and autumn and winter come, the die-cut holes decrease as each species goes off to spend the winter in their own way.
Young readers will love interacting with the holes in the sturdy pages, discovering the blossoming forest in such a tactile way. They’ll also enjoy watching the stories of the foxes, birds, and one industrious spider play out throughout the year. The jaunty rhymes are fun to read aloud and will entice children to read along as well.
Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book is a delightful book for home and classroom story times as spring blossoms and throughout the year.
Ages 3 – 7
Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2016 | ISBN 978-1101932421
Discover more about Britta Teckentrup, her books, and her art on her website.
International Day of Forests Activity
Your Special Tree
Every tree is unique—just like people! With this craft you can use your imagination to make a tree that’s as special as you are.
- Printable Tree Template
- Two 8 ½ by 11-inch sheets of foam or heavy stock paper in whatever color you’d like your tree to be
- Colored paper for the leaves,
- Glue or tape
- Print and cut out 2 copies of the trunk template
- Make a cut half way down the middle of the first trunk from the top of the trunk
- Make a cut half way up the middle of the second trunk from the bottom of the trunk
- Fit the two pieces of the trunk together
Personalize Your Tree
- Cut leaves from colored paper, you can make a spring, summer, autumn or rainbow-colored tree!
- On the leaves you can write some of your favorite books, the names of your friends, things you’re thankful for, your goals, or any special things about yourself. Your leaves could even make a poem!
- Then glue or tape the leaves to your tree and display it
Picture Book Review