Book list: Stories about Trees

This list was compiled to coincide with National Tree Day which falls in July each year. This is an extensive list of books that offer a rich insight into the topic of trees for children. For easier browsing the list is broken into four sections:

  • Board books
  • Life and adventures within trees
  • The growth and cycle of a tree
  • Trees as special friends

May these stimulating books provide rich inspiration for you to explore and celebrate trees and nature with your children.

If you’ve read any of these books yourself I’d love for you to leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

This Tree, 1,2,3

Alison Formento and Sarah Snow

ISBN:978-0807578919

Format: Board book

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, March 2011

This is an abridged version of This Tree Counts, making it perfect for younger readers. (See This Tree Counts below).

Suitable for ages 1+ (★★★★★)

In My Forest

Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich

ISBN:978-0811875660

Format: Board book

Publisher: Chronicle Books, October 2010

This is an ideal book for babies and toddlers. It is a textural-looking board book with an attached deer finger puppet. The die cut pages in the centre of each page create the illusion of a deep, but colourful forest. On each page the deer shares with the readers what he can see in his forest: snowflakes, twigs, acorns and other creatures.

Suitable for ages 0+ (★★★★)

In My Tree

Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich

ISBN:978-0811870528

Format: Board book

Publisher: Chronicle Books, September 2009

As with In My Forest, this book is a board book with die cut pages and an attached owl finger puppet. In My Tree reveals what a little owl likes most about his home, from his sturdy branch to his cozy roost.

Suitable for ages 0+ (★★★★)

The Lorax

Dr. Seuss

ISBN:978-0007326181

Format: Board book

Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens, October 2009

A board book version of the classic tale. See The Lorax below for a description.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★)

One Tree (Green Start)

Leslie Bockol

ISBN:978-1584768111

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Innovative Kids, April 2009

Printed on 98% recycled paper and with uber-cute illustrations, this book follows the life of a tree through the seasons, and chronicles the changes that take place. It includes a parent information page with 11 handy hints for your home that will help to help save trees.

Suitable for ages 1+ (★★★)

Stuck

Oliver Jeffers

ISBN:978-0007263868

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books, September 2011

Stuck  isn’t so much about the life of a tree. However, I couldn’t resist adding it to the list because I think we’ve all experienced having something stuck in a tree.

It is a book that will have you laughing out loud as Floyd tries everything to get his kite out of the tree. You won’t believe what lengths he goes to (think a ladder, a pot of paint, the kitchen sink, an orang-utan and a whale), and just when you think Floyd has the problem solved Oliver Jeffers surprises you again.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★★)

My Little World

Julia Cooke and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

ISBN:978-1862917903

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Omnibus Books (Scholastic), 01 April 2011

This book isn’t so much about trees and forests but the animals and creatures that live within them. My Little World is set on Black Mountain in Canberra, a dry Eucalypt woodland. The story is told by a young child who is too small to see what her older brother and Gran can see on their walks. Instead, she notices the little things that many people might miss like “wavy feeler-things” or “antennae just like feathers”. It is jam-packed with rich text, information, and detailed illustrations.

Suitable for ages 4+ (★★★★★)

Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World

Margi Preus and Rebecca Gibbon

ISBN:978-0805078299

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, March 2011

Publisher’s description: Some trees have lived many lifetimes, standing as silent witnesses to history. Some are remarkable for their age and stature; others for their usefulness. A bristlecone pine tree in California has outlived man by almost 4,000 years; a baobab tree in Australia served as a prison for Aboriginal prisoners at the turn of the twentieth century; and a major oak in England was used as a hiding place for Robin Hood and his men (or so the story goes…).

The fourteen trees in this book have earned the title “Celebritrees” for their global fame and significance. Both in fact and in legend, these fascinating trees remind us not only how much pleasure trees bring, but what they can tell us about history.

Suitable for ages 5+ (unrated)

This Tree Counts!

Alison Formento and Sarah Snow

ISBN:978-0807578902

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, February 2010

This is a counting book but the title of this book is a play on words symbolising the importance of trees. The bright, vivid, retro-style illustrations make this book very fascinating.

A class of students is preparing to plants some trees but before they do, the teacher tells the children to listen to the story the old tree has to tell. Told in numbers, the tree’s stories are about the creatures that inhabit it. The children learn the lesson that trees have history, a story and need to be cared for.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★★)

The Magic Faraway Tree

Enid Blyton

ISBN:978-1405230285

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd, May 2007

Do you remember the adventures of the Magic Faraway Tree from your childhood? Introduce this generation to Jo, Bessie, Fanny and Rick; a group of children who love to explore nature, have wild imaginations, meet some extraordinary characters and visit fun places like the Land of Do-As-You-Please.

Suitable for ages 6+  (★★★★)

Last Tree

Mark Wilson

ISBN:978-0734409867

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books, March 2007

Set in Victoria, this is a story about the life of giant eucalyptus tree, the people and creatures for who it provides food and shelter, and the bushfires and storms it withstands. The images in the backgrounds of the pages provide us with clues that the environment is changing and then the creatures stop visiting the tree and the flowers dry up. With hope, the last seed travels in the wind to a new place and falls to the earth. With sunshine the seedling grows to be tall and strong, “just like the old tree”. The author includes a note at the end of the book about the effect of human habitat destruction.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★)

The Nickle Nackle Tree

Lynley Dodd

ISBN:978-0141501307

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Puffin Books, January 2007

In true Lynley Dodd style, this book is full of bright colours and lively language. It is actually a counting book about the “jumbly jam of birds” that live within this overloaded Nickle Nackle Tree from tittle tattle birds to pink Fandango birds.

Suitable for ages 2+ (★★★)

Leaf Litter

Rachel Tonkin

ISBN:978-0207198229

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins (Australia) Children’s, April 2006

Publisher’s description: Leaves, twigs, branches and bark collect on the ground in forests all over the world. We call it leaf litter. In this exquisitely illustrated book, Rachel Tonkin explores a small patch of leaf litter beneath one tree, which contains a hidden world that changes day by day. The more you look, the more amazing things you will find.

Suitable for ages 4+ (★★★★★)

Leaf Man

Lois Ehlert

ISBN:978-0152053048

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books, September 2005

A clever book which uses leaves to create the images told in the story. A leaf man goes on his travels and along the way meets the likes of fish, birds, butterflies, turkeys.  A leaf identification page is included at the end of the story.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★★)

Too Many Monkeys

Author: Margaret Wild

Illustrator: Sally Rippin

ISBN: 9781862915619

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Scholastic Australia, 2004

RRP: $15.99(aud)

A remarkable story apt for read-aloud fun by award winning author, Too many Monkeys is an eloquent story about a nuclear family of 5 monkeys  - Dad, Mum, Eenie, Meenie and baby Bo, living in a tree in the forest that’s a nice snuggly fit for their amicable family.

But the arrival of a surprise with a knock knock on the trunk of the tree sets off the chain of events that has them moving from tree to tree in search of the perfect one to accommodate them all.

Suitable for ages: 3+ (★★★★★)

Read a full review of Too Many Monkeys here.

The Pear in the Pear Tree

Pamela Allen

ISBN:978-0140564976

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Puffin Books, September 2001

While John and Jane were out walking, they notice a juicy pear and begin a quest to pick it from the tree. The story is amusing as we read about their various attempts to reach the pear and the humorous things that go wrong along the way.

Suitable for ages 2+ (★★★)

The Magnificent Tree

Author: Nick Bland

Illustrator: Stephen Michael King

ISBN: 9781742832951

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Scholastic Press, July 2012

RRP: $24.99

Together, Bonny and Pop decide they need to create a tree so the birds will stay and play. Bonny takes on a natural and traditional approach to growing a tree, while Pop tinkers with some new ideas to create his invention.

Good things come to those who wait and, after a whole year of hard work, Bonny and Pop are ready to reveal their creations- just in time for the birds to return. Just like Pop and Bonny, their trees are very different. Pop’s tree is big and brilliant, which invites play, exploration and adventure. Bonny’s tree is simple and beautiful, and makes a perfect home for the birds.

Suitable for ages: 4+ (★★★★★)

Read a full review of The Magnificent Tree here.

Tanglewood

Margaret Wild

Illustrator: Vivienne Goodman

ISBN: 978-1862915701

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Omnibus Books (Scholastic)

Published: Australia, April 2012

RRP: $26.99 (AUD)

Tanglewood is an incredibly  precious story that reinforces our inability to live without family. It is about a single tree that stands alone on a remote island wishing for company and wondering whether it was possible to die of loneliness.

For a short time, the tree enjoys the company of a seagull until the seagull returns to his own family. Understanding the importance of family to one’s health and happiness, the seagull eventually returns with some tanglewood seeds so the tree could have a family of his own to keep him company.

Out of interest, this book took 7 years to make- WOW! It is easy to see why. The illustrations are so emotive and life-like.

Suitable for ages 4+ (★★★★★)

Lone Pine

Authors: Susie Brown and Margaret Warner

Illustrator: Sebastian Ciaffaclione

ISBN: 978-1921541346

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Little Hare (Hardie Grant Egmont), April 2012

RRP: $24.95 (aud)

Lone Pine touches on battle and the loss of lives, but its main focus is to show how a pine tree and its scattered pine cones have connected families, generations and nations through memorial and remembrance.

Suitable for ages: 6+ (★★★★★)

Read a full review of Lone Pine here.

Last Tree in the City

Peter Carnavas

ISBN:978-1921042218

Format: Hardback

Publisher: New Frontier Pty Ltd, September 2010

A simple but emotive story about the power of one boy who makes a difference to a city that is full of concrete and void of colour. Edward’s passion and appreciation for trees becomes infectious and brings the city back to life.

Suitable for ages 2+ (★★★★★)
Read a full review of Last Tree in the City here.

The Curious Garden

Peter Brown

ISBN:978-0316015479

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 2009

Liam lived in a city with no trees or garden of any kind, or so he thought. As a curious little boy, he explored the city and found a little patch of plant life along a derelict train line. This is definitely a picture book that speaks a thousand words. Through the spectacular and captivating illustrations, we watch Liam water, prune and sing to the plants and eventually his community co-operates. The little garden he was curious about takes over the city and community. We read on the back page that an old elevated railway in Manhattan was Brown’s inspiration for this story.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★★)

The Lorax

Dr. Seuss

ISBN:978-0007305827

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, April 2009

This well-known classic was first published in 1972, but the message is highly relevant today. It is a common story of a greedy human who discovers the resource of trees but misunderstands its recipe for replenishment.  There is always an ambassador who “speaks for the trees”, and in this case it is The Lorax . He pesters the Once-ler about the trees, the environment and the creatures, but the Once-ler doesn’t heed the warnings. Instead, he invents ways to increase volume and speed until greed is cut short in its tracks and the last tree is gone. The story ends with a young boy and a seed, and hope that a new forest can be planted.

Suitable for ages 6+ (★★★★)

Belonging

Jeannie Baker

ISBN:978-1406305487

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd, June 2008

Publisher’s description: As in the author’s previous picture book, Window, this book is observed through the window of a house in a typical urban neighbourhood, each picture showing a year’s developments. This is Window in reverse, with the land being reclaimed from built-up concrete to a gradual greening.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★★)

The Tree

Bob Darroch

ISBN:978-0143503569

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Puffin, 2008

This story is set in New Zealand and tells the story of a forest giant who is witness to the many changes that humans make to the landscape around it. Before the tree is cut down itself, an old man and his grandson find a small seedling at the base of the tree and find a safe spot to plant it, in hope that it can continue the life of the giant. The tree sits in the same place on each page of the book. The scenes around the tree change dramatically and there are also changes within the tree to spot too.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★)

Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

Timothee De Fombelle and Francois Place

ISBN:978-0763646554

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA), August 2010

Publisher’s Description: In the sequel to Toby Alone, Toby’s world is under greater threat than ever before. A giant crater has been dug right into the centre of the Tree, moss and lichen invade the branches, and one tyrant controls it all.

Suitable for ages 9+ (unrated)

Toby Alone

Timothee de Fombelle and Francois Place

ISBN:978-1406307269

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Walker, June 2009

Publisher’s Description: An award winning adventure with a powerful ecological message set in a captivating miniature world. Toby is just one and a half millimetres tall, and he’s the most wanted person in his world, the great oak Tree. When Toby’s father makes a ground-breaking discovery, he realises that exploiting it could do damage to their world.

Suitable for ages 9+ (unrated)

A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope

Michael Foreman

ISBN:978-1406325881

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd, May 2010

This is a touching story where a vine is a symbol of hope for a young boy. The story begins with a black and white illustration of a boy amongst war-torn rubble, where he spots a tiny green seedling. Against the odds he cares for the seedling until it provides a place for shade and play for the children. Despite numerous other setbacks, the vine continues to grow and the boy dreams of walking into the prohibited hills once more.

Suitable for ages 4+ (★★★★)

Leaf

Stephen Michael King

ISBN:978-1741696776

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Scholastic Australia, April 2010

Leaf is a nearly wordless book, where the illustrations are supported by sound effects. Leaf demonstrates that the growth of a plant is also an analogy for the growth of ideas. Both grow with imagination, care, love and enthusiasm.

Suitable for ages 2+ (★★★★)

The Tiny Seed

Eric Carle

ISBN:978-1847386229

Format: Other book format

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s, October 2009

This is another classic story from Eric Carle.  We follow the life cycle and adventures of a little seed as it floats across the sky, drops to the ground and grows into a flower.

Suitable for ages 4+ (★★★★)

Little Seed

Gav Barbey

ISBN:978-1405038430

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Macmillan Australia, August 2008

This is a unique book created by artist Gav Barbey by hand pouring high gloss polymer paint onto cotton-rag paper. He has successfully and beautifully showcased a selection of trees from around the world including the Joshua Tree, the Cherry Blossom Tree, the Baobab Tree, the Olive Tree, the Cedar of Lebanon and the Wattle Tree. He gives these trees a voice, a personality and emotion as they guide a little seed on its special journey to a place where it will be able to call home. The Joshua Tree laughs, the Cherry Blossom Tree whispers with care and the Olive Tree shares.

The final double page spread includes an annotated map of the world, indicating where each tree originates and includes special information about their features and life cycles.

Suitable for ages 2+ (★★★★)

The Little Yellow Leaf

Carin Berger

ISBN:978-0061452239

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Greenwillow Books, September 2008 (harpercollins)

Losing leaves is part of the cycle for deciduous trees but this little yellow leaf is not ready to let go from the tree when her time comes. She finally finds a friend and they let go together. With the use of minimalist illustrations in rich autumn colours, this charming story is perfect for children anxious about an upcoming event.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★)

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf

Lois Ehlert

ISBN:978-0152661977

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books, September 1991

Publisher’s Description: Lois Ehlert uses watercolor collage and pieces of actual seeds, fabric, wire, and roots in this innovative and rich introduction to the life of a tree. A special glossary explains how roots absorb nutrients, what photosynthesis is, how sap circulates, and other facts about trees.

Suitable for ages 4+ (unrated)

Tess’s Tree

Jess M. Brallier and Peter H Reynolds

ISBN:978-0061687525

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins, August 2009

This story celebrates the joy that trees bring children and the fond memories they provide adults. Tess’s Tree is a place to play, a place to hide, a place to meet someone special, a place to carve your name. You’d think that once the tree was deemed dangerous and cut down that it would cease to be a place, but that’s not so.  Little Tess, distraught by her loss, overcomes her anger and brings her community together to celebrate the tree’s life and to re-live their own memories. The tree will always have a place in their hearts.

Suitable for ages 3+ (★★★★)

A Tree for Emmy

Mary Ann Rodman and Tatjana Mai-Wyss

ISBN:978-1561454754

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, March 2009

This is a lovely story about beauty being in the eye of the beholder and that beauty for children comes from joy and adventures not from status, reputation or origin. Emmy loves trees of all shapes and sizes but the tree she loves most in the Mimosa Tree, just like the one in her Grandma’s yard. She swings from it, she wears its flowers as jewellery, and she shakes the seedpods like maracas. She asks for her own Mimosa Tree but to her disappointment she discovers that wild trees can’t be bought from shops. Eventually she finds a seedling to plant in her yard. She learns that with patience and care she will one day have a Mimosa Tree like her Grandma’s.

Suitable for ages 4+ (★★★)

Book list: Stories about Trees

4

  1. Such a beautiful collection of books. I especially love The Lorax. I can’t wait to read it to my students in preparation for National Tree Day.

  2. What a wonderful, comprehensive list – you’ve worked hard putting this together. You may enjoy looking at my Amazon lists which have similar themes: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/richpub/listmania/byauthor/A1303Z2LUJUE84/ref=cm_pdp_lm_all

    Thanks and best wishes
    Juliet

  3. I have lost a beloved book. It is a picture book about a tree that
    grows old and when it is dying the yournger trees care for it.

    • HI Jane. Sorry to hear that you have lost a book. I’m assuming the book you have lost was not listed in this list. There is a story that is coming to mind. I recall reading it recently, but the title eludes me at the moment. Can you remember roughly when the book was published?

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