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A Tree is Growing - Arthur Dorros, 1997    A TREE IS GROWING

by Arthur Dorros,
illustrated by S.D. Schindler
(Scholastic, 1997)

Ordering Information

Young trees with bark as smooth as a baby's skin, older craggy-barked trees, trees with leaves of all shapes, sizes and colors-there is an incredible variety of trees. Some trees can expand to store water, others can live for five thousand years. Find out more about trees and how these living giants of the plant world grow, in this beautifully illustrated award-winning picture book.


"It is difficult to separate the concisely elegant text from the nearly lyrical illustrations in this distinctive nature book...follow trees through the seasons."–The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Trees and how they grow are the subject of this clear, handsome introduction. students as well as nature lovers will find facts here and a quiet sense of wonder."–Booklist

"A verdant testimony to the noble plants that shade our lawns and line our streets. Using sidebars..Dorros sets forth interesting details-e.g., how a baobab stores water-without interrupting the flow of the main text...Schindler's illustrations portray it so vigorously that readers will almost hear leaves rustling overhead. Readers will be exploring woods, sidewalks, and yards-anyplace there are trees-with new eyes."–Kirkus Reviews

Awards and Honors

Book Award Winner 1998, American Horticultural Society
Orbis Pictus Honor Book 1998, National Council of Teachers of English

Author's note: the story behind the story

From the close-to-the-ground perspective of a small child, trees were giants around me. I found a duck's nest with eggs at the base of a tree, mushrooms, toads, and colorful leaves by others. One of my earliest memories is of a winter walk by a pond at age three or four. As I stepped on a few acorns they went rolling and I did a flip into the icy pond. Round-edged oak leaves floated through the emerald water, and fortunately I floated too. The snowsuit I was wearing ballooned full of air and I bobbed among the leaves as my father's arm quickly reached to pluck me from the water. I looked up at the spidery branches of the trees as I was carried, a sopping mass, back to the car to warm up.

I climbed trees, felt them sway with the breezes, tested the springiness of the branches and hid among the leaves in spring and summer. I stuck maple seedpods on my nose and watched other pods helicopter to the ground, smelled the spicy sweetness of sassafras and sharp pine pitch. In the fall, I helped pile the leaves from our yard. I didn't like raking, but I liked playing in the piles of leaves that resulted. If there were no trees in our yard, as with a house we moved to when I was six, I missed them. I found seedlings of maple trees growing in places with little promise such as the cracks in sidewalks and brought them home to plant in the yard of our house. One of the seedlings thrived, and when I last saw it had reached almost as high as the roof.

Though I had been interested enough to learn the names of trees, how to tell one from another by their leaves and bark, there was much I still did not know. Researching for this book I learned that trees grow taller only at their tops, they don't stretch taller from below. I learned more about the hidden inner lives of trees, and found out new things about the connections they have with the soil, the air, and as homes for myriad creatures. I started to understand a little better something I'd always enjoyed-trees.

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