Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry, illustrated by Marc Simont

A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry, illustrated by Marc Simont

Rating: 3.5 stars

I rarely push a book in my kids.  I'm rarely in this position.  If they see a book, they are almost always curious about it.  I put it in the book basket between the big kids in the car, I put it up for display during a meal, I put it in their rooms during quiet time.  They'll grab it eventually.

Not this book.  I finally said, "I'm going to read this!"  I was glad that they didn't groan or roll their eyes, but...  Man, hard audience today!

The pictures are gorgeous, worthy of the Caldecott award that sits on the cover.  My kids' favorite picture is one of a huge, climb-able tree with nearly a dozen kids playing on its broad limbs.  The words alongside the pictures are fine, just a simple tale of the importance of trees.  They are delivered more staccato and less rolling than I prefer, but...I love these words:
Trees make the woods.  They make everything beautiful.
Even if you have just one tree, it is nice too.
A tree is nice because it has leaves.
The leaves whisper in the breeze all summer long.
Lorelei and Ben on our hike today, among
some beautiful trees.
We're lucky to live in the woods.  There's nothing better than to open the windows and listen to the breeze in the trees.  You can ask my kids--they know it's one of my favorite sounds on Earth.  I'll make them pause and be quiet (if only for 4.5 seconds!) so I can hear it well.

But speaking of pushing things on kids, I definitely try to push a sense of stewardship of the land.  Doesn't that sound so big and grand?  And I'm talking about preschoolers here!  I have never had a problem thinking big.  Years ago I would have plans to create some group to take charge of environmental lessons in classrooms across the county.  After my Peace Corps years, where I learned how to scale back and focus instead on a few important people, my thoughts are different.

I do what I can.  With my kids.  And, slowly, their friends.  And their friends' parents.  And you know what?  I think it's working.  I think it's slow-going, but all the good stuff is.  I think it's going to run deep.  I'm optimistic and curious about how the seeds I've been planting will grow.  Time will tell.

Was I talking about a book?  Right!  It's fine.  Good for the classroom, I think, but not exactly a bedtime page-turner.

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