Title: The Gentle Genius of Trees
Author: Philip Bunting
Publisher: Scholastic Australia/Omnibus Books
Published: 1st April 2021
- A funny, forensic, forest of facts exploring the brilliance of trees, from photosynthesis, symbiosis, and the wood-wide web
- · From the quirky and celebrated author/illustrator of How Did I Get Here?, Who Am I? and Give Me Some Space
- · Perfect for inquisitive children and big kids alike
- · Philip Bunting continues to grow his appeal with
funny fiction and non-fiction titles, and is a firm favourite here and here and internationally
What could we clever humans ever learn from trees? Take an unashamedly anthropomorphic wander through the woods to learn a few life lessons from our foliaged friends.
Philip Bunting’s latest, that he has written and illustrated, is a gentle and calm look at trees, what they do, and what they are used for, aimed at younger readers. It is filled with facts about trees, giving the trees personality as they speak to the reader about the characteristics of trees. It evokes a sense of knowledge and whimsy and uses fictional techniques to tell a factual story.
The trees take on a life and personality of their own and evoke a sense of what it means to be a tree, but still showing children and readers of all ages that trees are unique, that they are all different and diverse. It hints at the diversity of trees and the environments they live in, and tells us at the start, the various things trees give us.
In doing this, Philip has created a story that teaches, instructs and entertains readers, and helps them understand the natural world around them, and can help build an appreciative relationship with nature. This quietly contemplative book is very different to some of the other picture books out there – it explores themes of the environment and does away with the rhyming that many picture books have, but this tactic works for this book. The longer paragraphs allow for better and more in depth information about trees and what they provide, their life cycle and how they naturally protect themselves, even when other life forms rely on them for sustenance.
This charming and gentle book is calming and informative, educational and entertaining. It might not have high action and humour like many of the fabulous picture books out there now, or be part of a series that has a huge following. Nor is it by a celebrity. These sorts of books are good. But sometimes we just need the gentle, slow paced books like this to reassure us about the beauty of the world around us, and that everything will be okay.