Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree

Messner, Kate (Author)
Mulazzani, Simona (Illustrator)
Chronicle Books 2015. 30 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781452112480 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 577.34
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

recurring patterns, setting, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

One almendro tree is home to two keel-billed toucans, eight howler monkeys, sixteen fruit bats and so on: this picture book introduces animals who thrive in its bark and branches, all the way up to 1 024 leafcutter ants.

Each species is first introduced lyrically, with alliteration and figurative language aplenty—the toucans “hawk and squawk and squabble,” 64 “agoutis sniff and snuffle the forest floor”—and then scientifically, in a short, informative paragraph telling readers about how the agoutis help propagate almendro seeds for example. Subtly sneaking in some counting as well as lessons on the ecosystem, this non-fiction book conveys a sense of adventure while revealing secrets of the rainforest.

The rich visual accompaniment aptly renders the “warm-wet green” of the forest and the universe that “bustles and thrives” in the almendro’s leaves. The sweeping acrylic and pencil illustrations may be couched in shadows, as befits the undergrowth, or may surprise with flashes of colour. A range of perspectives and levels of detail creates energy and movement, as if the reader were peeking through the leaves. Each page has a sidebar with a numeric representation of the animal in question, in as many silhouettes as the tree supports individuals.

The book concludes with notes on the almendro tree, protection opportunities and some math problems featuring rainforest critters.

  •  Browse the book, discussing the counting pattern. Why do you think the author chose an unconventional sequence for this book? Revisit this question after reading. How has your thinking changed?
  •  In small groups, create a multimedia presentation about one of the animals featured in the text. Use facts from the book and additional resources.
  •  

    Use a graphic organizer to show what would happen if the Almendro tree were cut down. Brainstorm ways to contribute to rainforest conservation.

  •  

    Examine the book cover. Discuss the importance of trees, or a particular tree, in your life. In small groups, create a mind map of what you know about trees.

  •  

    On a picture walk, note the structures and features of the book. What else do you notice? How is it similar or different when read aloud?

  •  

    Choose a tree in your area. What animals live near it? With a partner, create a book in the same style. Add factual information about the animals you feature.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology