The Little Book of Trees provides a simple well-presented guide, suitable for children aged 9+ and adults alike. It is arranged in alphabetical order by tree name, from Alder to Yew, with over 40 trees listed. Clear photos help to identify the trees. Each tree has its own dedicated page with facts including its preferred habitat, size and how well the wood burns.
All trees are given their Latin names. Included are some ornamentals that can be found in parks such as the magnificent Cedar of Lebanon while other trees frequently found in woodlands such as Pedunculate Oak and Field Maple are also there.
Double-page spreads scattered through the book provide additional information on recognising trees by their buds, their leaves, their bark and their fruits. Pages with simple facts on woodland wildlife, autumn colours and hedgerows enhance an understanding of the value of trees and woods. A thoughtful addition just before the Glossary is a page of more common woodland plants presented with crisp photos.
To help those not familiar with the terminology, the Glossary provides useful definitions of words to enhance understanding including Catkin, Invasive Species, Ornamental tree, Pollination and Woodland.
One small criticism is that the authors describe some trees – including whitebeam and sweet chestnut – as easy to identify. It may be easy if you already know these trees but not necessarily if you are a beginner.
A teacher with little knowledge of tree identification would find this a useful book when taking children out into woodlands or their local park. Children would be able to use the book independently as it is clearly laid out. I am looking forward to using it to look more closely at ornamental and native trees in my park, their bark, their leaves and their buds.
Reviewed by Alona Sheridan
The Little Book of Trees. Caz Buckingham & Andrea Pinnington, 2019.
Farnham: Fine Feather Press Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-908489-38-8 (hardback p.144).