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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet, written by Nikki Tate. Orca, 2016. $19.95 ages 8 and up

"For as long as I can remember I have loved climbing trees. Even though I am usually afraid of heights, for some reason I always feel quite safe when I'm sitting up in the branches of a tree. My old trees are a lot of fun to climb, especially in the fall when they are full of apples. I never get tired of climbing up onto the branches ... "

As I read in my local paper yesterday about the destruction of a stand of trees on a city-owned golf course, I could not help but think about this recently read book which informs those who read it about the real importance of trees in helping to sustain our planet. They should never be cut down without careful thought, and certainly not in a effort to save money!

In the newest addition to the Orca Footprints series, Nikki Tate explores the huge importance that trees have in our lives and the life of our planet. The four chapters are named for Earth's elements - earth, air, fire and water. They explain how trees provide food, shade, fuel, clean our air and enhance the landscape. Our lives and the way they have developed have much to do with the interactions felt between trees and the earth's inhabitants.

Ms. Tate's book is a terrific look at the role played by trees and assures that readers gain knowledge and find personal interests that might begin here, and then branch out to include richer information from other sources. The design is as pleasing as it has been in other books from the series, offering well-captioned photos, a combination of archival, personal and found one that give her readers a close look at the benefits of protecting our trees and forests.

The Try This sidebars encourage kids to get outside and have a close look at the world they inhabit, taking time to truly appreciate its beauty and wonder. There is great diversity to be found wherever we live. She also includes a series of Forest Fact boxes and adds I Love Trees insets to share personal anecdotes from her own life.

"Planting a tree is an important way to commemorate an important life event - like the birth of a child. When my mother was a baby, her family planted a lilac tree outside her grandmother's house in Germany. For her whole life, my mom loved lilac trees, and to this day I associate the smell of lilac blossoms in spring with warm memories of my  mother."

A list of resources and websites, a glossary and index follow the text and are useful for those wanting to know more.

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