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4.0 out of 5 stars
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on January 3, 2017
A Beautiful book
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If you'd like an interesting poetic slant on trees, this is just the book you have been looking for. You'll be taking a look at a seed, the mighty oak, a coconut palm, a baobal, the swirling roots of a tree, the giant sequoia, the banyan, the monkey puzzle tree, the paper birch, the time telling tree rings, the bristlecone pine, you'll read about different kinds of leaves, bark, the dragon tree, the Japanese cedar, the weeping willow, and the yew tree. You'll also be able to learn a bit about each tree in the glossatree.

Paper Birch

Paper birch.
White birch.
Canoe birch too.
Tree to view.
Smooth white birch bark
Grows where it's cold.
Paper birrrrrrrrrrrrrch:
A sight to behold.

The reader will not only be treated to some very interesting "poetrees," but will also receive some small, interesting lessons in botany. Apart and aside from the marvelous verse and appealing layout of the book, there was something very interesting about this book and I had to read it a few times before I figured out just why I was so drawn to it. There was an unusual pattern that stood out on each page and upon closer inspection, it appears that Florian used recycled bags as his canvas. Many kudos to the author for his "green" approach in his celebration of trees, but also to our environment!
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on June 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a fan of Florian's previous poetry collections, especially Insectlopedia, so I was happy to get my hands on his latest book, Poetrees. As you can guess from the great title, these poems are about trees.

One thing I like about the book is that it opens sideways, so the spreads extend vertically to accommodate the height of the trees in the art. This author-illustrator's artwork is again weirdly cool, produced using mixed media on brown paper bags which remind us, not only of the look and texture of bark, but that paper is generally derived from trees. I especially liked the giant sequoia, in part because of the hands he put in the trunk and in part because my family used to go to Sequoia National Park every summer, where we regularly yelled and ran with a certain amount of delight when the bears came up on our cabin porch to eat our supper.

Some of the poems are more striking than others, but they combine to give the reader a woodsy feel--you can practically smell the leaf mold and pine needles. For example, a poem titled "Seed" wraps in a figure eight, reading, "Inside this seed you'll find a stem and leaf that grow with rain into a trunk and branch and leaf and seed that starts again." My favorite is probably the dragon tree, which longs to fly like its dragon cousins. There's even a spooky poem about a yew growing near a grave. A "Glossatree" at the back adds further facts about each tree or topic from the poems.

Poetrees is another nice offering from Douglas Florian, whose clean language and gentle puns capture tree thoughts on pages like so many fallen leaves. While this isn't my favorite of his collections, if you're a Florian fan you'll want to take a look.
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VINE VOICEon June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a little mixed on my feelings for this book. Conceptually I think it works better than it should considering the contents. The style of the book itself is the biggest draw and makes up for some of the lazy poems included. I couldn't help but get the feeling like Douglas Florian was phoning it in for half of the poems. Some of them are smart and feel fresh and then others feel half-hearted and hollow. I liked the artwork, and the way the poems are written (style-wise) is interesting (albeit a tad distracting at times). I liked the fact that the book opened like a calendar, although I must admit that it can be somewhat awkward to hold and turn pages. I'm not sure just what the purpose of the book is supposed to be. If it is to encourage imagination, it half works. If it is to educate then it half works. Some of the poems are awfully short and somewhat pointless. Poems like `The Seed' are short yet sweet, and the design of the page is a talking point as well. Poems like `Oak' are just bland and void of any real `effort' on the part of Florian to make this subject interesting and engaging. It's hard to hate on this book though, because it is very pretty to look at and for a younger age it is probably appropriate. I can see this being used in kindergarten, but I can't see it really making much of an impact on older children who could probably come up with more insightful and more `colorful' poems on their own. I'll give this a B-. I wanted this to be better, but overall I can't say that it is a failure; it's more of a mixed bag.
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on March 8, 2011
Upon receiving this book you will immediately know it is quite unique. The spine is the top and you open the book by flipping up, not from side to side. A rather interesting quirk that leaves me kind of frustrated because, you know, when you are used to doing it a certain way, change is rather hard to get used to! :P So if you pick this book up to read it, try to remember to flip it up! :D

The poetry in this is short and whimsical while educational. I loved learning about the different and exotic trees. And the author really does a wonderful thing by stretching or changing the direction the words are going in order to punctuate the word choice. He's also incorporated words within the pictures as well. I loved how this is presented in this way.

I also liked the fact that this book includes a glossary (or rather, a glossa-tree as everything is about trees). It not only introduces the young reader to poetry and different types of trees, it also introduces them to a very pertinent part of books. When you need to know what a word means, it is a mini-dictionary. I like that this includes one and thus, encourages the reader to expand his/her vocabulary.
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on June 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Douglas Florian is at it again with another kooky collection of creative compositions about the natural world. As this volume reveals, he's just as at ease with trees as he is with lizards, aardvarks and bees. Florian's work has natural kid-appeal because of its boundless curiosity and unconventiality.

The mixed-media on paper-bag-canvas artwork is wild and primitive. The poems are full of fun and pun, driving rhythm and clever rhyme.

The subject matter--trees and their parts--is fastinating. Several of the poems are about amazingly exotic trees which sent me Googling--images of African Dragon trees, Banyans and hollow Yew trees, for instance are a must-see for expansion companion to this volume. I also like the ones closer to home--like "Bark". Scientific tidbits in these poems can lead to more learning.

I love how Florian loves to play with the language--twisty rhymnes and word plays abound. But I wonder if some of these works might create confusion for the young child, who may not understand their figurative nature. "The Dragon Tree" is an example of this. For this reason, I think the book should stimulate discussion beyond what is on the page, as the reader grows to greater understanding. I think these "Poetree" poems should have a broad appeal from the very young child who can enjoy the strong rhytmn and the silliness, to the older reader who can think about them and learn more. Good for read-aloud and for creative thinking.
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VINE VOICEon June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's a treat to read a poetry book that is great for kids and adults. Douglas Florian, both a poet and an artist, presents Poetrees, a book which opens in the a long, tall way to emphasize the height and grandeur of trees and their out stretched branches. Each drawing is accompanied by a poem, most rhyming but some free verse, which makes it fun to read aloud. However, I think the best part is that he selects some trees that are not so well known so the book is not only fun and imaginative but also educational.

The book has a sense of humor both in the illustrations and poems. Of course, there are poems about the seed, followed by the roots, tree rings, leaves, and bark. Then there are the unusual trees, Scribbly Gum and Monkey Puzzle Tree; some of the tree names and verses can put a smile on any reader's face. Even the glossary, which is very informative for those who have more questions, is called a glossatree.

Though some of the vocabulary may be tough for preschoolers, the overall effect of each poem is still wonderful when read out loud. In Dragon Tree, all ages can relate to the feeling of being a dragon tree and enjoy the fun dragon pictures. It's also nice to see creative flowing drawings, not picture perfect pictures of trees. Again, the readers' imaginations can run free on these pages. Simple, yet complex, fun, yet serious, I would recommend this book for all ages. It's a book that can be read over and over again.
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on April 10, 2011
This charming collection of 19 poems celebrates trees in all their variety. With a playful, kid-friendly sense of rhythm, respected poet Florian turns turns the book on its side, presenting the poems and illustrations vertically, to emphasize the height of each tree. Loose, easy watercolor and oil pastel paintings on brown bag and recycled papers lend a relaxed feel. Beginning with the concrete poem Seed, in the shape of the eternity symbol, ', implying the infinite possibility that each seed harbors, the book goes on to celebrate Giant Sequoias, Scribbly Gum, Banyan, Paper Birch trees and more. I loved the poem about the coconut palm which reads in part, "I'm nuts about the coconut./I'm cuckoo for the coco./ I'm crazed for this amazing nut./For coco I am loco." accompanied by a picture of a man with a coconut tree growing out of his head. Whimsical, short and full of puns, these poems will appeal to second through fifth graders with a sense of humor.

The book is appended with a "glossatree" presenting additional scientific facts about each of the trees mentioned in the book. Great for poetry units, or as an addition to a science curriculum, this is a book sure to please, don't miss it.
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on December 18, 2015
Florian focuses his talent for poetry and illustration on trees as he celebrates their beauty, uniqueness, and importance in this collection of eighteen poems that are rich with his signature wordplay: "lovely leaves/leave me in awe."

Florian's enthusiasm for his subject is clearly demonstrated in the first stanza of his poem, Coconut Palm : I'm nuts about the coconut./I'm cuckoo for the coco./I'm crazed for this amazing nut./For coco I am loco.

There's the familiar oak and weeping willow, the largest - Sequoia and the oldest - Bristlecone pine, as well as the exotic Scribbly Gum, Baobab, and Monkey Puzzle Tree. Florian includes poems about roots, seed, bark, leaves, and even tree rings in this thoughtful look at one of earth's most valuable resources. A Glossatree that provides information about the subjects of his verses completes the book.

Florian turns his book ninety degrees to allow for large, vertical double-page spreads for his illustrations worked in mixed media on brown bag paper.
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VINE VOICEon August 17, 2010
Are you a fan of poetree? A lover of all things green and leafy? Ever want to know more about a Baobab or an oak? Or tree roots and seeds? Look no further than Poetrees (2010) written and illustrated by Douglas Florian.

Poetrees is filled with quick, witty poems to entertain, inform, and amuse. Combined with original illustrations done with what looks like water colors and maybe some pastels. The book is clever and a lot of fun right down to its unique vertical orientation to give the trees shown their maximum height.

Poetrees is a delightful book for aspiring poets, botanists, and anyone looking for a little fun. The back of the book even has a glossatree with information about all of the trees featured in the book.

Exclusive Bonus Content: I couldn't figure out how to file this so it's cross posted in with non-fiction and picture books. Madness!

(I acquired a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster's Fall 2010 preview which I was lucky enough to attend.)
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