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The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination (A Poetry Speaks Experience) Hardcover – October 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up—Finding connections to and inspiration from Charles Darwin's work, the editors of this anthology encourage readers to consider the shared ancestry among all living things. Divided into nine sections, this impressive collection begins with the theme "Oh, Fields of Wonder" and ends with poems that remind readers to "Hurt No Living Thing." Classic works by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, and the like, and selections from contemporary poets are included, as well as translated works. Hoberman and Winston cleverly pair titles such as D. H. Lawrence's "Hummingbird" with Rachel Field's "Something Told the Wild Geese." A thoughtful introduction describes the origin and organization of the book. Many pages contain footnotes that provide additional information about the poet, poetic terms and form, and suggestions for further consideration and discussion. A CD of poets reading their own work and poems written by others is included. This handsome collection is especially appropriate for classroom use and instruction along with Constance Levy's A Crack in the Clouds (S & S, 1998). From the playful to the profound, the poems invite reflection and inspire further investigation.—Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
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From Booklist

“Both poets and scientists wonder at and about the world.” Selected by Winston, an anthropologist and teacher, and Hoberman, the current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, this attractive, accessible anthology collects poems that celebrate both the facts and the mysteries of the natural world. Included are selections from the language-arts canon, such as William Blake’s famous line about “the world in a grain of sand,” as well as contemporary offerings by children’s poets, such as Douglas Florian and Alice Schertle. The thematic categories are sometimes vague, starting with a section of poems about “the wonderful beginnings of things,” which explore life’s origins, as well as “the connections between pebbles and mountains, people and animals, atoms and stars.” Even if the organization occasionally feels arbitrary, the well-chosen selections will provoke thought and inspiration. Explanatory notes accompanying many poems, a glossary of both scientific and poetic terms, short biographies of the poets, and an accompanying CD featuring a selection of the poems read aloud make this attractive and unusual hybrid of poetry and science a great choice for classroom sharing. Grades 3-7. --Gillian Engberg

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 7
  • Series: A Poetry Speaks Experience
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; Har/Com edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402225172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402225178
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Great Kid Books on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Poetry and science both ask us to think about the world around us, to pause and reflect on nature's patterns and rhythms, the plants and animals we see and learn about. More than that, poetry and science prompt us to ask questions, to explore and to wonder. This is a wonderful collection for home or school - I'd suggest it for ages 7 through 13.

This poetry collection helps children think more closely about our natural world, what we see today and the world that was here long before we were. It is organized into chapters about the sea, dinosaurs, trees, reptiles, insects, and more.

I was particularly impressed by the range of poems in this collection, and how they will appeal to children of a wide age range. Some poems are simple and direct, while others are complex in their vocabulary and images. A poem can stretch your mind to make you think about nature's design. The footnotes are a particularly helpful feature in this book, providing a great launch into conversations with children about science and poetry.

Mary Ann Hoberman is the current Children's Poet Laureate for the United States. She is the author of over 40 books of poetry and fiction for children. She writes, "As I see it, my mission is to spread the delight of children's poetry and poetry in general, to be a sort of Pied Piper for children's poetry. While continuing to write and recite my own poems, I will also be presenting the work of other wonderful children's poets in talks and readings and videos."

Another lovely thing about this book is that it includes a CD audiobook of many of the poems. Contemporary poets read their works aloud as well as works by famous poets from past times.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By a gentle sound on November 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Happily driving home from teaching I heard on Public Radio an interview of Mary Ann Hoberman talking about this collection. Because I needed to wash the car, and because the drive took awhile, I was able to hear her read from her book and enjoyed completely this experience from beginning to end in an extended piece. She had this line from one of her poems about time not allowing you to fall out of it that struck me. I have been reading and studying what I can to consider the notion of "time." Especially as it is "arrested" within literature. Something that quite recently fell from some unpleasant exchanges into my thinking. It is the poet, the writer that seeks to change our perception of time. So of course this intrigued me further about this volume.

I came home and despite my feeling about this book service ordered the book. It arrived in about three days, pristine, a tribute to lovely printing and binding-the edges deckled, lovely cream pages. The smell of poetry. Wonderful and I'll order two more for gifts and long term life safe keeping. It will be one I take to heart.

I know Mary Ann Hoberman from "A House Is A House For Me," A House Is a House for Meby far one of the books that inspired me to drawing, collage, and making artworks myself and within the classroom. Inside the anthology it was so much exactly as represented on the radio, a tribute to science, art, observation (and certainly imagination) and a kind of poetic celebration. She stated that she made an anthology exactly as she might have wished to have as a child.
That would be a remarkable project to consider having the privilege to be able to do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on December 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While visiting a friend, I noticed _The Tree That Time Built_ on the coffee table. Thumbing through it, I knew I had to have this collection. Broken down by theme ("The Sea is Our Mother", "Prehistoric Praise", "Think Like a Tree", Everything That Lives Wants to Fly"), the anthology is a collection of poems about nature and the natural world. This in itself would warrant its purchase. What makes this book so exceptional, however, is the editor's explaination at the end of many of the poems, discussing not only literary elements (extended metaphors, for example), but also connecting the poetry to natural science - the concept of a natural "tipping point", for example. A glossary at the end of the book provides an explaination of the biological terms used, a brief biography of the poets included, and a marvelous bibliography for those interested in a particular writer.

The variety of poets is impressive. I was introduced to several new poets, and (particularly exciting for me), a number of new poems by authors I have long enjoyed - especially Theodore Roethke's "The Bat" and Rumi's "Little By Little." A pleasant suprise was a piece by Darwin's great-great granddaughter, who wrote a piece based on his writings. As if this wasn't enough to warrant five stars, the book comes with a CD, in which the poets themselves read their work.

While apprently the book is aimed at a younger audience (say, ages 7 - 9), I enjoyed the collection immensely and highly recommend it for its creative and entertaining connection of sciecne and poetry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Librarian Laura on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Charles Darwin was convinced that the universe and all beings and substances were connected. After traveling the world, he came home and created a diagram that he named Tree of Life, which later developed into his theory of evolution. The Tree that Time Built organizes poems from various poets into an exploration of the trees and branches of Darwin's tree. The main trunk is life, and the book is organized into sections covering birds to dinosaurs and everything in between. Each section has an introduction with a brief history of Darwin's ideas about that topic. Many poems have questions or comments at the bottom of the page, which spark self-reflection. The book also includes a glossary and a short biography for each poet included in the compilation. A CD, with forty-four poems read aloud, accompanies the book and provides enrichment for the reader.
The poems included in the book range from old poems by Whitman to modern poems by Hoberman. The styles are different, but the reflection of man's connection to nature and to animals connects all of the poems into a smooth read. Although the ideas range to man's individuality like in Eve Merriam's "Thumbprint" to the connection all of creation shares in Felice Holman's "Who am I?", the poems all support the notion that everything is intertwined and thus influenced by one another.
Because Darwin's theory of evolution states that everything is ever changing (albeit very slowly) and is dependent on the elements surrounding it, "Who am I?" is the perfect poem to introduce this book to students.
Who am I?
The trees ask me,
And the sky,
And the sea asks me,
Who am I?
The grass asks me,
And the sand,
And the rocks ask me
Who I am.
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