Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Grand Old Tree” as Want to Read:
A Grand Old Tree
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Grand Old Tree

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  173 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
THE GIVING TREE for our time.

Once there was a grand old tree, whose roots sank deep into the earth and whose arms reached high into the sky. Every spring the grand old tree flowered and bore cherries for the squirrels and birds that made their homes in her leafy branches. And every year, seeds from the tree scattered in the wind, along with many millions of leaves. Mary Ne
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published August 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaolaGrandpa Green by Lane SmithThe Patchwork Quilt by Valerie FlournoyThe Keeping Quilt by Patricia PolaccoLittle Bear's Visit by Else Holmelund Minarik
Picture Books About Grandparents
78th out of 104 books — 13 voters
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo WillemsThis is Not My Hat by Jon KlassenDoctor De Soto by William SteigAlice in Wonderland by Helen OxenburyThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Best Picture Books Ever
54th out of 54 books — 6 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 29, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, science, 2012
This is a wonderful story that tells about the life cycle of a tree. The story is told with a simple, short narrative and bright, cartoonish illustrations that will appeal to young children. The narrative is easy to read aloud and I think this book would work well for a group storytime, especially one with a tree or Arbor Day theme.

I saw this book mentioned in a discussion about Arbor Day in the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads. So, in honor of Arbor Day, we rea
Lauren Owens
When creating plans on teaching the life cycle of a tree, this book should absolutely be included. The flow of the book mimics the slowly swaying movements of a tree on a windy day. There are many vocabulary words that students will need to know about the lives of trees and important information about the circle of life in regards to nature and unexpected habitats for animals. The students could recreate this story on paper with definitions for the vocabulary words on the appropriate page. Also, ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Allison rated it really liked it
I want to use these illustrations to decorate my daughter's room. Some of my favorite illustrations ever, and the pictures are what earned the extra star for my review. I believe the story was well-written, but the sadness of this tale did not quite mesh with the cutesy print and darling pictures. I did like it, but it was not quite what I was expecting the experience with my three-year old. Jordan was only semi-interested.
Apr 08, 2011 Michiko rated it really liked it
A beautiful little book about the life cycle of a tree, DePalma writes a simple book with rich language. This little book lends itself nicely to mini-lessons on active voice and verb use in writing, and life cycles and decomposition in science. It is accessible to early elementary students, and complex enough to engage older learners in conversation around word choice and poetry.
Jane G Meyer
Jun 07, 2011 Jane G Meyer rated it really liked it
Sweet. I'm always a sucker for a story about a tree. This would be a great toddler book; it follows one tree's life cycle, from mature tree to tumbled over trunk to humus for the next sapling. There's very little text, and the pictures are whimsical, but with strong lines, and easy for little eyes and minds to decipher.
Sep 28, 2016 Ritz rated it liked it
Nice and short and engaging for my youngest classes. Dynamic text and interesting pictures kept their attention and it teaches a nice little lesson to boot.
Anna Lawrence
Feb 18, 2015 Anna Lawrence rated it it was amazing
Personal Reaction:
I really liked this book because of how simple it was. It is focused on a very young age group, yet the message it sends is very powerful and it is something that kids can learn and carry on throughout their life. The think I really liked about it was that even adults can learn a powerful message from it, that you should give unselfishly of yourself to others and those around you because you never know who you will help and impact profoundly when you are gone. This book has a l
Melissa Stasi
As I was reading this book, I discovered that the simplicity with the balance between the pictures and text along with the illustrations themselves are what perfected this book. This book is about the life cycle of a tree as if the tree is its own human being. In the book, it states, "Her roots sank deep into the earth," and "Her arms reached high into the sky." This makes it seem like the tree has it's own gender and it grows and develops just like a human. Preschoolers or Kindergarteners would ...more
Kelly Grimes
Feb 24, 2015 Kelly Grimes rated it it was amazing
personal reaction- I thought this book would be a great book to read to first graders. This book had bright and bubbly illustrations flowing from page to page. I really enjoyed this book because it provided me with a simple and fun explanation of a trees growth and presentation it will have during the different seasons. I appreciated that this book stayed to a simple story plot, the death and growth of the tree and the the different physical features it undergoes. I also enjoyed how this book ...more
Christine Turner
Oct 13, 2014 Christine Turner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tree, science
Cycle of Life

Once there was a grand old tree, whose roots sank deep into the earth and whose arms reached high into the sky. Every spring the grand old tree flowered and bore cherries for the squirrels and birds that made their homes in her leafy branches. And every year, seeds from the tree scattered in the wind, along with many millions of leaves. Mary Newell DePalma creates an emotional tale of life and renewal, of nature's bounty and quiet balance, illustrated with simple images made powerfu
Becky B
Apr 20, 2014 Becky B rated it really liked it
Reading somewhat like an ode, this picture book tells about a tree through the years and seasons, how it is home to various animals through the years (even after it dies), and sows other trees.

The description compares this to The Giving Tree and it does have a slightly similar feel in that you follow a tree through its lifetime, but it is a little more sciency than The Giving Tree exploring the ecological niche of the tree. A good resource when talking abut habitats, life cycles of plants, or fo
Sara Parry
Sep 02, 2014 Sara Parry rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this story because it reminded me of a book that I read all the time when I was younger called "The Giving Tree". This story shows how life goes on and all of the different forms of life the tree supports. The tree lives through many different seasons for many different years. The tree is old it is it's time to die. The tree is then able to support new life and the cycle is able to continue. This book would be helpful to integrate science and reading in the classroom. It would ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it
DePalma takes the reader through the life cycle of a particular “grand old tree,” as the tree takes root, spreads her branches, provides a home for animals, flowers, fruits, sows seeds; after the tree dies in winter, she still provides a home for animals. Students learn about a tree’s life cycle through lyrical prose. The adjoining illustrations reinforce the concepts introduced in the text. They are brightly done and contain a hint of abstract method.
Extends the usual summer-fall-winter-spring "tree narrative" to include how trees remain part of a forest's life long after they have died. Great illustrations, the oversized leaves are charming. There's a nice mix of true-to-life details (dead tree lying under a blanket of snow) and fun imaginative ones (ladybugs surfing on leaves dropping from trees).
Emily Farmer
Nov 19, 2012 Emily Farmer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: preK-1st grade
Once there was a grand old tree who was home to many and spread children throughout the land. Eventually the tree got old and couldn't do any of the things it had before, but it could still house many. This book talks about a tree and it's life. I think this would be a cute book when talking about lifecycles. I really like the pictures and how the text is aligned in the book.
Lorna Reed
Aug 07, 2009 Lorna Reed rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The cycle of life. The joy of person as they age as they see the influence of there life on their children or others and see those good righteous efforts multiply and take new life told through the life of a tree.
Lesley Looper
Nice book to read this spring morning about the life cycle of a tree. Cute illustrations, too. It reminded me a little of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, only without the boy-->man to chop down the tree.
Mar 16, 2013 Leona rated it it was amazing
Shelves: easy, grief
great book showing the life cycle of a tree and how the tree contributes through it's life and afterward. good book for child dealing with death because it presents death as a natural part of existence.
Diana Pettis
Aug 16, 2013 Diana Pettis rated it really liked it
This would be a great book to use when introducing plants to younger students in a science unit. The following vocabulary words are introduced which include creatures, caterpillars, branches.

Guided Reading Level: J
Nov 26, 2011 Sebin rated it really liked it
A cute illustrated book but the story line is a bit sad. It talks about the life cycle of a tree down to its death. I would use this book for older students to teach about the life cycle of a tree and nature itself.
May 15, 2014 Morningglory rated it it was amazing
We purchased this book from the Arboretum in Boston, MA. A great look for preschoolers to see the circle of life through the matriarchy of the grand old tree and how she returns to the earth while leaving a legacy of forest to carry on. Lovely illustrations for this age group.
Aug 14, 2012 Ashley rated it it was amazing
This book would be a wonderful assesst to use during a life cycle unit. It would also be great to use in a discussion about nature, such as an earth day project. Simple story with beautiful illustrations.
Linda Costello
Mar 12, 2010 Linda Costello rated it really liked it
This is great for the life cycle of a plant. It tells of the different purposes the tree serves, how she had many children, and when she is old and dies she still performes a function in nature.
Gabriela Cano
This story was a simple narrative, which I love but does not have much of a plot. How I would use this book in the classroom would be a read-aloud for maybe an objective on nature for ages 5-6.
Aliza Werner
Cycle of life, scientifically, but through an empathetic and personalized lens. Use with science seeds & trees unit.
This book goes through the life of a tree. It shows the tree through each season. It would be great for teaching the seasons and how trees are formed and what their puposes are.
Apr 21, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
A very good book about the beauty of life, & how your life can keep giving to others even after you're gone.
Feb 28, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
The life cycle of a tree, told simply, quietly, and gently, with delightful illustrations that make this a perfect lap book with a preschool child.
Feb 24, 2013 Bethany rated it really liked it
Beautiful artwork accompanies a story about the life of a tree. Important content about the life cycle of a tree is shared.

Grades: K-3
Topic: tree, life, cycle, seasons
Jun 05, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
This book is such a beautiful and beautifully illustrated story about the life cycle of trees and the importance of trees.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World
  • Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids
  • Compost Stew
  • Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons
  • Waiting for Wings
  • Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly
  • For Just One Day
  • Yucky Worms
  • Charlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers
  • Step Gently Out
  • Curious George Plants A Tree
  • Chameleon Chameleon
  • A Funny Little Bird
  • I Am Small
  • A Rock Is Lively
  • The Curious Garden
  • Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story
  • Migrant

Share This Book