From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-Another handsome book from the author/illustrator of Bald Eagle (Houghton, 1998). A simple, straightforward narrative in large print describes the white oak, its growth, and the animals that live in and feed off it. In much smaller print, detailed asides describe the tree's inhabitants and its full life cycle, which can be read along with the large text or enjoyed separately. Explanations of terms such as photosynthesis, transpiration, and dormancy and a discussion of the autumnal colors are included. These descriptions are accompanied by small, meticulously detailed pen-and-ink drawings. Larger illustrations accompany the major narrative, also done in pen and ink, with the addition of subtle shades of watercolor. Changes in color and light help readers to experience the passage of the seasons. Unfortunately, the full enjoyment of the book is somewhat marred by two visual flaws. First, the way the type for the title is composed is jarring at first glance-it seems to say "Toak Ree." Secondly, a very small gray tree frog (2 1/2 inches in length) appears larger than the robin (9-to-11 inches in length) pictured behind it. In all other respects, this is a beautiful and informative book for young naturalists.Virginia Golodetz, Children's Literature New England, Burlington, VT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A picture-book format makes this especially appealing. After a long winter rest, an old oak tree is awakened by spring's arrival. A year in the life of an oak tree is described. Without being cute, Morrison manages to make the tree, its inhabitants, and visitors characters in a story about life and nature. Each phase of the tree's development is lovingly depicted in language and pictures that are scientific as well as colorful and accessible. Margin notes about the animals and processes are located across the bottom and along the sides of the pages. The notes are slightly more scientific than the text itself and occasionally threaten to overtake the page. Despite that, this book is equally engaging as reference or personal-interest reading for the science-minded child. Marta Segal