for If I Were a Tree by Andrea Zimmerman and Jing Jing Tsong
Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education
Choices, Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)
Two siblings journey into the woods in a tender story of branching out and new growth from acclaimed writer Andrea Zimmerman and New York Times bestselling illustrator Jing Jing Tsong.
If I were a tree, I know how I'd be.
My trunk strong and wide, my limbs side to side,
I'd stand towering tall, high above all,
My leaves growing big, and buds on each twig.
If I were a tree, that's how I'd be.
The sister has camped in the forest many times before. The brother is nervous for his first overnight trip. As the illustrations in this multifaceted picture book show the siblings discovering the woods, the text celebrates the strength and grace of the trees that surround them, through evocative verse that speaks to all five senses:
If I were a tree, I know what I'd smell.
Sweet honey and bees, and skunk on the breeze.
I'd smell smoke in the air, the breath of a bear,
Old fungus decay, and rain on the way.
If I were a tree, that's what I'd smell.
And with this new knowledge, the siblings are able to overcome their greatest challenge yet. Together, Andrea Zimmerman's wise poem and Jing Jing Tsong's kaleidoscopic art show how connections with the natural world can inspire us to live fully in the present and look hopefully to the future.