Art and text move through summer, fall, winter, and spring to explain the science behind the seasonal changes in deciduous trees.
“What kinds of leaves do you see in the summer?” The opening double-page spread has a stark white background. Seventeen different trees are represented by a scattered array of leaves—each carefully labeled—in many gradations of green. The enticing collage art uses negative space to show the veins. The page turn leads to additional glorious art, affirming the text’s use of such words as “emerald” and “jade.” Lush canopies of summer leaves part just enough to reveal, in the distance, people and a dog paddling a red canoe across a lake. Although all the illustrations concentrate on tree leaves, they occasionally include similar scenes of seasonal human activities—subtle reminders that humans are also affected by nature’s cycles. The text uses some anthropomorphism (trees and/or their leaves conceal “secrets,” “wait,” “make food,” and sleep) as it introduces young readers to chloroplasts, chlorophyll, plant cells, and the process of photosynthesis as well as the role of fallen leaves in an ecosystem. After the final double-page spread, which reveals a world returned to springtime, there are two pages written in a straightforward, scientific manner, supplementing the earlier text with further information about leaves—including differentiation between deciduous trees and evergreens and the names and characteristics of pigments hidden beneath a leaf’s chlorophyll.
Facts about chlorophyll combine with a sense of wonder.(glossary) (Informational picture book. 4-8)