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Redwoods Hardcover – March 17, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1–4—This remarkable picture book delivers a mix of fantasy and fiction through beautifully detailed watercolors. Waiting on a subway platform alone, a boy finds a book about redwood trees and becomes captivated while reading it on the train. As he learns that there are trees alive today that first sprouted during the Roman Empire, readers notice two passengers seated beside him from that period. When he comes out of the station, he finds himself deep in a redwood forest, where, clad in climber's gear and a harness, he launches a rope, climbs a tree, discovers wildlife in the branches, and experiences the many wonders similar to a professional researcher. Colorful panels focus on his observations. Chin superbly captures the boy's varied expressions throughout his adventure. Perspective is artfully used to show the immensity of the trees as he rappels back down into the city with images of landmarks and skyscrapers. Reality returns when he notices the time and darts off, leaving the book behind for a girl to discover and begin her journey in the redwoods. The final pages include information about the environmental dangers that the redwoods face, some nature graphics drawn to scale, and an inspiring author's note. This inventive story will charm and educate readers and send their imaginations soaring.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
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*Starred Review* The first book Chin has written as well as illustrated is a real eye-opener. Before the title page, the first illustration shows a boy finding a book called Redwoods while waiting for his subway train. Remarkably, the boy pictured on the cover looks like him, though on the title page, a girl in an orange sweater walks through the trees. The text is straightforward nonfiction: an informative guide to redwood trees. Meanwhile, the illustrations create an imaginative drama that highlights the facts. When he is reading that some trees alive today sprouted during Roman times, the boy is shown sharing a seat with a Roman Legionnaire and a citizen wearing a toga. When he leaves the subway, he emerges into a stand of redwoods, which he thoroughly explores from forest floor to canopy. A height comparison of trees and skyscrapers brings him back to the city, where he leaves the book on a park bench. The illustrations conclude with the girl in an orange sweater picking up the book and beginning her own adventure. The text clearly and succinctly presents information, which is effectively illustrated in the colorful paintings. Even better, the narrative element in the artwork soars, promising to engage children imaginatively as well as intellectually. Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan
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It is well written and captivating for all ages.