A Grand Old Tree – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Spread the love

U634SchJkt_0.tifTitle: A Grand Old Tree

Written and illustrated by: Mary Newell

Published By: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005

Themes/Topics: Trees, life cycle, ecology, seasons

Suitable for ages: 3-7



Opening:                                                                                                                               Once there was                                                                                                                       a grand old tree.

Her                                                                                                                                     roots                                                                                                                                    sank                                                                                                                                   deep                                                                                                                                    into                                                                                                                                            the                                                                                                                                        earth,

Synopsis: This is the tale of a grand old tree, whose roots ran deep, and whose arms reached high. For years and years she flowered and spread, she grew and shed millions of leaves. And her children grew tall beside her.

This is the tale of a grand, beautiful cycle of life. A beginning. A Middle. And, yes, and end that leads on to many new beginnings. (taken from the jacket flap)

Why I like This Book: I have to say, I much prefer this story to The Giving Tree. The language is simple, yet rich and colorful and tells the story of a tree’s life cycle and all the animals’ lives that are touched by its life. In death, the tree continues to give as it fertilizes the ground for its children to keep on growing. It is an upbeat story on giving (not taking) and the circular nature of life, which I believe even young children will grasp. The double-paged water-color spreads are bright, inviting and whimsical, reflecting the repetitive nature of the cycle. This is a great addition to simple units on ecology, the life-cycle or to celebrate Arbor Day, as well as introduce young children to the majesty of trees.


Join in National Tree Planting day.

Kids can reproduce their own illustrations of this tree cycle.

I would couple this with the much more individual story of MAPLE, by Lori Nichols. And Lori has some great leaf/tree activities on her blog, lorinichols.com

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

This entry was posted in Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Grand Old Tree – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Ooooh, I love your choice. It reminds of a video I posted recently on FB about the trees in the forest and how interconnected they are with a nervous system and everything else that grows in that forest. The mother tree being the most important. I agree, this is a much better example of life cycles and the importance to the life of the entire forest, including little critters.

  2. Even though my older son is too old for PBs, I think he’ll like this one because it’s on his second favorite topic: trees (first is birds). 🙂 I love the art!

  3. Wendy says:

    I have been spending more time than usual staring at trees as the leaves start to change colors in my neighborhood. This is a great choice for autumn.

  4. This looks so lovely Joanna!
    Also don’t miss the new G. Brian Karas book “As An Oak Tree Grows” – beautiful!

  5. The title alone is poetic!

  6. rhythm says:

    We see this life cycle and connectedness every day here at the 7 Acre Wood. I love walking amongst the trees. I’ll have to sniff this one out! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’m sharing this with a friend. At his work they do tree plantings and involve the children at the local child care center. This would be a perfect one to recommend before the plantings.

  8. Like Wendy I too have been looking at trees a lot lately and not because of the fall colours, but because of the beautiful blossoms. 😉 I love the cycle they go through.

  9. Catherine says:

    It sounds very poetic and I love trees. Great find, Joanna!

  10. What a lovely-looking book, Joanna! And I love it as an alternative to The Giving Tree (which I have never liked because I think the boy is selfish and mean!) Books that help children understand ecology and the cycle of life are so valuable. Thanks for adding this one to our list! 🙂

  11. Pingback: Sequoia – Perfect Picture Book Friday | Miss Marple's Musings

  12. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the idea about drawing the tree’s life cycle. I think the kids will enjoy that one.

  13. Pingback: EARTH DAY, 2015 on Miss Marple’s Musings – How will you celebrate? | Miss Marple's Musings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.