I cannot put into words the sadness I felt when I heard that our beloved Ed Grover, an exceptional writer on Epinions, was in ill health. I was sadder still when we learned that Ed was fighting a battle with Cancer.
While I cant say that Ed and I are great friends, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet him at the Chicago Meet & Greet and Ive corresponded with him periodically over the past five years.
Ed and I have much in common, so I think it is for this reason I feel a deep sadness for all that he is going through. What could, in his words, an old gay guy and an old straight lady like me have in common? We are both friends of Bill W. and that right there is a bond between two people that is very strong. From that stance we have an understanding of one another. We are also both reformed smokers. Quitting cigarettes is a difficult thing to do and Im proud that Ed made that choice almost ten years ago. We also both live in Wisconsin and both adore Lois Ehlert books.
When I first thought about a shout out to Ed, I couldnt imagine what I would write about and then it occurred to me that a review of book by Lois Ehlert, an author whom Ed knows would be just right.
I dedicate this one to you Ed, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
This is the absolutely wonderful story of a sugar maple tree. The narrator, an unnamed I is the main character in this book, and he/she (Id assume it is Ms. Ehlert herself) walks us through the growth of a tree, from a young seed in the woods to a large sturdy tree in her yard.
She talks about loving her tree and then gives a bit of background about how it started with the help of the wind, snow and finally the warm spring air. Nursery workers collected tree sprouts from the woods and transplanted them. They nurtured and cared for their sprouts and they uprooted them again.
The roots were wrapped and tied with twine as the young trees were sent to a garden center where it was purchased and transplanted once again.
We went there in the fall and picked out my tree.
Dad had a hole, already dug, waiting for it.
When we got home, we lowered my tree in the hole.
I held the trunk while Dad covered the roots with soil.
As she goes to bed she waves to her tree and tell it good night. In the winter she hangs up treats for the birds on it and watches for signs of its growth in the spring.
As the tree flowers and the flowers turn to winged seeds she watches as they float to the ground. But she points out, her favorite time is the fall, when the leaves are all red and yellow.
The illustrations in this book are as beautiful as the trees are when they change colors in the fall. The pages are filled with yellows and reds, greens and blues too.
The use of watercolor collage and lots of pieces of things like string, seeds, fabric, ribbon, wire, paper clips, a paper airplane, gardening gloves, burlap and twine all make the illustrations realistic and fun to look at. Along with the watercolors, pencils, crayons, pens and oil pastels were used.
The first page is filled with yellow leaves with a cut out of a leaf that you can see red through, when you turn the page it is filled with red leaves and the cut out area is then the yellow leaf from the previous page. Very cleaver and eye appealing.
The backgrounds on the pages are very bright and are either yellow, green, orange or blue. The pages colors grab the eye as you turn from one beautiful page to another.
The text is a very large black font that is easily seen on each of the pages. Along with the regular text of the story, there are pages that have descriptive words next to different things, such as one page has some birds and included next to them is the words Black-capped Chickadee. On the tree that is being transplanted it a green band with information about the tree. It includes such things as the name Sugar Maple and the facts about it. It likes sun and can grow to a height of 30 to 40 feet with a spread of 15 to 20 feet. It is a hardy tree to temperatures of minus 25 F. Even the shovel has small print next to it that says round-pointed spade.
I absolutely Love this book. It is filled with beauty, a story and educational activities for young children. This has to be my favorite book about Fall and its beautiful colors. While I checked it out from the library, it is a book that I will be adding to our daycare shelf.
There is so much to learn from this book. I keep going over it and over and am learning new things with each read. I didnt know that until a tree is about four to five feet tall, it is just a straight shoot with no side branches and is called a whip. I found this information on the front inside page where the information about the book is. I found it particularly interesting because our neighbors planted a tall straight shoot about a month ago
..I kept thinking how odd it looks, but now realize that someday it will be a beautiful full tree.
This book also talks about the seeds that fall from the tree. We have a sugar maple in our play yard and I love when the seeds fall (apart from the mess). We call them helicopters, because of the way they fall. As the book points out they whirl and twirl to the ground. Since we have many of these trees near us you can see lots of them flying down from the sky when a good gust of wind blows. We even pick them up and send them flying again. The daycare children and I love to do this and now I have a bit more information to share with them about these beautiful seeds, including that the name for them, which is samaras.
Sammi and Dee love hearing me read this book them. They both talk about the colors of the leaves and how we have seeds and leaves just like the ones in this book. They are anxious to make the bird treat that is on the back flap of this book. Both girls said they liked the page with the birds on it and the narrator saying that she would peek out of her window and wave at her tree. Jake decided then that he had to wave to our tree as well.
The last four pages are facts about this tree and how to plant it. It covers such things as the Leaves, Buds, Roots and Sap, Bark, Flowers and Seeds. There are suggestions for picking the right tree, the best planting times, preparing the tree site, planting the tree, wrapping and staking. Finally on the back inside jacket is directions for making bird treats that can be hung from the tree. This is such an exceptional part of this book and appeals to my young daycare children but would also be great for early elementary school children as well.
Even the dedication of this book is a beautiful one;
"Dedicated to our mothers and fathers trees and
Especially to the trees we plant with our children."
The larger size of this book (10 X 10) makes it perfect for holding up and reading. The beautiful illustrations are easily seen and the colors are bright and cheerful and very eye appealing.
Nuts & Bolts
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf was written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert.
This 1991 32 page hardcover book was published by Harcourt Brace and is recommended for children 3 - 7 years old.
It is a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book as well as a Notable Childrens Book in the Language Arts (K-8) There is also a silver sticker on the front of this book that lets the reader know that it is a Reading Rainbow Book. All of this a testament to what an outstanding book this is.
The jacket price on this book $16.00 USA and $21.00 CAN. Definitely a bargain and well worth it.
While the passing of the seasons seems to come faster and faster as the years go by Ms. Ehlert has made the transition into Fall a bit easier to endure. I pray that Eds transition to whatever life has in store for him will be swift as well.
For more entries into the Ed Grover Appreciation Write-Off please go to eplovejoy's profile page.
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