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By Claire Saxby & Jess Racklyeft

Reviewed by Margarite Igras

Tree is a stand-out picture book written by the award-winning Australian author, Claire Saxby with insightful watercolour illustrations by Jess Racklyeft.
Claire Saxby writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children of all ages. Her books include Haywire and The Wearing of the Green, the splendid Nature Storybooks series, and the picture books The Anzac Billy,  Iceberg (CBCA Picture Book of the Year for 2022) and Whisper on the Wind.
The Tree, a Mountain Ash, dwarfs the other trees in the forest. It is a sapling on the title page but, Every day, its roots drink water. Every day, its leaves use light to make energy… The tree grows.  The author asks the reader to look and listen. There is animal activity around the tree in the leaf litter. Under the soil, white threads fine as floss connect this tree to others, while up the massive trunk, there are tree ferns, hollows with sleepy possums, greater gliders and rosellas picking insects from the leaves.  
Jess Racklyeft has covered the pages with striking watercolour details of animals, insects, plants, and a stunning fold out page of the tree from ground to canopy. The end pages are filled with a variety of drifting leaves and the odd feather, reminding us that trees are important abodes for birds and other animals. The open verse text has a lyrical quality as the author speaks gently to the reader Can you see the forest… Close your eyes. listen to the new sounds of night.
This informative and  appealing book is a delight to read, with multiple refreshing perspectives and a crowd of fauna facts. Some may not be known to our younger 4- to 8-year-old reader and will need further adult input.
Allen & Unwin Children 2023 Teaching resources are availabe here.
Claire Saxby
Jess Racklyeft
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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