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Annotation: Celebrates a giant sequoia tree as its shelters birds and small animals, experiences all the seasons, and points up to the night sky and the stars.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #87826
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Illustrator: Minor, Wendell,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-596-43727-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-596-43727-2
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 2013044239
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
This examination and appreciation of a giant sequoia takes the point of view of the tree itself. Throughout, the text details what the sequoia, described as an old man wearing robes of green, experiences through the seasons om spring, when he listens to the thaw and the call of birds, through winter, when the chill enters his bones. Johnston describes what the old sequoia sees, smells, hears, and feels (including the tapping of a woodpecker on his bark). In this way, not only the sequoia but also the surrounding forest and wildlife are described. The immensity of this tree is conveyed through contrast (a large bear is positively dwarfed in a vertical two-page spread) and by showing parts of the tree's enormous whole. The illustrations, rendered in gouache watercolors, vary, but the best e tree frosted in snow, for example e breathtaking. A closing page titled "Some Notes on Sequoias" should not be missed, as the facts here are just as startling as Johnston's fiction.
Horn Book
Lyrical verse and lush gouache watercolors give a giant sequoia's imagined perspective on the forest life around "him" as seasons and years pass, creating a portrait of a wise and benevolent ancient being. The text--full of alliteration, assonance, and consonance--begs to be read aloud. A few vertical spreads capture the tree's majestic height. "Some notes on sequoias" appended. Bib.
Publishers Weekly
Johnston-s (The Cat with Seven Names) homage to the giant sequoias of California opens at dawn, as one of these towering trees -watches the/ clearing/ quietly/ fill with/ deer. He watches the/ sky/ burn blue at/ the rim.- Spare verse describes the tree as -he- experiences the seasons in turn: the sounds of spring, summer forest fires and thunderstorms, the waning light and migrations of fall, and a winter snowfall at sunset. -He throws wide/ his ancient/ arms/ with joy/ and gathers/ snow to him.- Minor-s (Edward Hopper Paints His World) softly-edged gouache watercolors provide panoramic views of and from the sentinel sequoia. In several scenes, readers glimpse inside the tree-s tallest branches as an owl takes flight or a woodpecker works away at the bark. Shifting perspectives, from high atop the tree-s canopy to animal dens beneath the forest floor, maintain visual interest. This stirring tribute portrays the millennia-old tree as a serene observer and wise caretaker of its surroundings. Endnotes offer factual information on the giant sequoia, comparing it to the taller yet younger coast redwood. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 In quiet, lyrical text, Johnston personifies a giant sequoia tree and brings it to life. Readers follow the tree through the seasons: "Summers, from his post above lower trees, he sniffs the breeze. Sometimes he feels the very heat, shimmering everywhereAutumns, among shifting drifts of leaves, he feels a chill entering his bones." Minor's luminous goauche paintings successfully capture the grandeur of these trees with dramatic shifts in perspective, from standing at the base of the tree gazing up to perching near the canopy, looking over the forest. Numerous animals that make their homes among the sequoias are shown in the illustrations, but not all are mentioned in the text. Though this is more of a poetic introduction than a research source, a one-page note at the end explains the difference between sequoias and their coastal cousins the redwoods, identifies threats to the trees, and includes a helpful range map. VERDICT Teachers may want to use this title to demonstrate the use of figurative language or pair it with Jason Chin's Redwoods (Roaring Brook, 2009) for a unit on California giants. Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (10/1/14)
Horn Book (4/1/15)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (2/1/15)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 339
Reading Level: 3.1
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.1 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 170351 / grade: Lower Grades

Standing tall above the tree line, Sequoia stretches his ancient arms and gathers clouds to him. He watches as days, seasons, years pass by. His branches are home to owls and choirs of frogs. Beneath his broad canopy, a world grows. This is his story. Through controlled verse and luscious illustration, Tony Johnston and Wendell Minor do justice to the enormous figure of the sequoia tree. A Neal Porter Book

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