________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 28 . . . . March 27, 2015


Do Trees Sneeze?

Jean Freeman. Illustrated by Val Lawton.
Regina, SK: Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, 2014.
32 pp, pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-927756-32-4.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Meredith Cleversey.

***½ /4



When it gets cold, the trees start to shiver, and their leaves begin to shake loose.

The trees suck their sap way deep inside to keep it warm through their long winter's nap.

Mostly, the wind comes along...and helps them undress for bedtime by shaking off their leaves a few at a time.

But sometimes trees sneeze...and all their leaves fall off at once!

Jane Freeman's Do Trees Sneeze? gives an interesting account of what happens to trees as winter approaches. A curious child is told by her tree loving nonna that trees have a ritual to help them prepare for a winter's nap. They paint their own leaves the colours of fall, and they suck in their sap to help keep it warm during the coldest months. But the strangest thing of all is how sometimes trees seem to lose all of their leaves at once, which, according to Nonna, happens when a tree sneezes.

      The unusual interpretations offered in Do Trees Sneeze? are quite fun, and they encourage readers to notice and consider the natural world around them as they question what really happens when autumn turns to winter. The text of this story is delightfully playful, a sentiment matched by Val Lawton's illustrations. The animated trees are drawn with friendly personalities, smiling when they are given hugs, and chattering their teeth as they shiver in the cold. This, combined with the bright shade of the green grass and the lovely yellows and reds of the autumn leaves that sway and float in the wind, gives the story a strong sense of both warmth and movement.

      Do Trees Sneeze? also includes an interactive twist. At one point, readers are instructed to shut their eyes in anticipation of a tree having a sneeze. While most of the book is adorned with bright colours, this one scene uses black pages to convey the illusion of eyes shut tight. When the page is then turned, red, yellow, and green leaves fall all around the excited children of the story. The switch from bright colours and lively action to expectant darkness and then back again is surprising and entertaining.

      Do Trees Sneeze? is a lighthearted tale about trees losing their leaves. Readers will have fun exploring this new, creative take on the changing of the seasons, and they will be on alert for the rustling of the trees in their own neighbourhoods, too. A worthwhile addition to stories about the transition from one season to the next.

Highly Recommended.

Meredith Cleversey, a librarian in Cambridge, ON, loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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