Title: Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Tress of the World
Author: Margi Preus
Illustrator: Rebecca Gibbon
ISBN: 9780805078299
Pages: 40 pages (Picture Book format)
Publisher/Date: Christy Ottaviano Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC c2010.
Published: March 1, 2011

“Trees inspire people to extraordinary achievements. Treaties have been signed, justice dispensed, and the seeds of the American Revolution sown under trees. It is said that Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.
Here are fourteen Celebritrees, trees so beloved they have earned names for themselves. Many of these trees are still standing. Although we don’t know their exact ages, most of them are very, very old. Each tree has a story to tell.” (unpaged)

I read reviews of this book, and requested it from another library. Upon seeing it, my coworker immediately placed an order for our own copy. My reaction upon seeing the author was wait… the same Margi Preus who wrote Heart of a Samurai? Yes, the one and the same.

Preus repeats the success she had with Heart of a Samurai in this book, which is an interesting and unique combination of history and ecology, with a bit of folklore thrown in for good measure. Each tree receives a full-page illustration that many times puts its size in context with other things, whether it be people or the Statue of Liberty. The neighboring page provides a description and history, the type of tree, the location of the tree, and the age if known. While a greater number of the trees are from the United States than from any other country or continent (the first three are from California), there are also trees from Sri Lanka, France, England, Australia, Italy, and Mexico. The types of trees are also varied, from cypress, pine, chestnut, popular, redwood, and quite a few oaks.

The one thing it’s missing however is a map! There’s some wonderful material in the back that suggests websites to browse, other books to check out, environmental tips, and facts about the various types of trees featured in the book. Would it have been that hard to include either a small map on each page locating the tree in the context of the world or a large map at the end of the book simultaneously showing all the locations of all the trees? Otherwise, it’s a new spin on a very old proposition to save the trees, and will work with environmental enthusiasts as well as history buffs who search for the odd and unusual historical stories.

This post is in honor of Nonfiction Mondays. For the entire round up of all the bloggers who participated, check out Anamaria over at Books Together.

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