Chris Butterworth (text) Charlotte Voake (illus.) The Things That I LOVE about TREES, Walker Books Australia, 1 April 2018, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781406349405
This is another Walker Books science picture book written and illustrated by two very talented creators. Chris Butterworth has written over 60 non-fiction books for children and Charlotte Voake is an author/illustrator of over 40. They have each won awards for previous titles and this collaboration is a celebration of trees.
The main tree in this story is a plum tree. The young narrator begins her reasons for loving trees in spring when the tree is budding and follows it through a year until it is bare in winter. Other trees are mentioned and drawn showing their size. As is usual in these information picture books from Walker, the main text is in large font size while the facts are in smaller type.
A slight downside for Australian readers is that the book is written with a Northern Hemisphere emphasis, although evergreen trees are mentioned. All the varieties of leaves shown on the endpapers are for typical English trees, such as sycamore, scots pine and hazel, but some of them, like oak, are grown here. Squirrels are the animals mentioned (as well as bees) and the page of recommended tree-related activities suggests collecting conkers.
This is a soft, gentle book. Chris Butterworth’s text is evocative and lyrical while Charlotte Voake’s illustrations are in ink and watercolour using greens, browns and autumn colours. It is just a shame it does not have a broader appeal for those of us down under.
Reviewed by Lynne Babbage