Book Review: Trees: An Illustrated Celebration by Kelsey Oseid

Trees: An Illustrated Celebration by Kelsey Oseid. Ten Speed Press, 2023. 9781984859419. 160pp.

I love seeing the world through Oseid’s paintings — she notices little details and then points them out via her paintings in a way that looks exactly correct and which makes me realize I need to pay more attention to everything. There is science in this book but it’s overwhelmed by the drawings: note just the anthropomorphized trees but also detailed images of leaves, flowers, fruit, bark, and cones. I love the unexpected paintings best: the Brazilian grapefruit with its bark covered in berries, the one showing crown shyness (this is when some trees maintain a distance from each other at the canopy), underground trees, the Ogham tree alphabet. Before reading this I had no idea monkey puzzle tree seeds were edible, nor the collective term for the acorns that fall in a season (mast). And I was surprised to learn that no one quite agrees on what a tree is, taxonomically speaking anyway.

Includes an index. Trees is a great gift for readers young and old, and it’s the kind of book I wish I’d gotten instead of those classic National Geographic books for kids my grandparents gave me every Christmas. This deserves a spot in school libraries at all grade levels.


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