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Picture a Tree
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Picture a Tree

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  386 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
"Picture a tree—what do YOU see? Picture a tree, from every season, and from every angle. These wondrous beings give shade and shelter. Now look again. Look closer. The possibilities are endless." In this gorgeous new picture book, Barbara Reid brings her vision, her craft, and her signature Plasticine artwork to the subject of trees. Each page is a celebration, and you wi ...more
Hardcover, 29 pages
Published March 1st 2013 by Albert Whitman Company (first published January 1st 2013)
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Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
If you weren't a teacher or a librarian you wouldn't necessarily be aware of how critically important tree units are to our school systems. They're huge. Each and every year when I worked as a children's librarian I would watch as mountains of tree-related picture books got sucked out of my branch by teachers and kids assigned arboreal units. The end result tended to be a hyperaware state where whenever I found myself within a close approximation of a tree picture book my internal radar would st ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picture a Tree is truly a work of art. The words don’t fall flat with the adults but frankly the kids are focused on the amazing pictures. Each picture is a scene showing the various aspects of trees, their beauty and their place in our lives. Colourful and in three dimensional Plasticine, the scenes are alive.

It’s an inspiring book. Moreover, after we’d read the book, on our next walk, we seemed to notice the trees more. It opened up a conversation, perhaps even a love of nature that we can co
Full review found at

This book is a nominee for the 2012 Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards.

Barbara Reid has a long history of Canadian picture book successes. Every Canadian picture book bestsellers list I have seen at Quill & Quire has included at least one of her books. Read Me a Book is a personal favourite.

The reason Barbara Reid is so loved is because her Plasticine illustrations are so unique and inviting. The textures her plasticine scenes
This is a lovely book, filled as it is with powerful language that encourages readers to look at trees from many different perspective. By doing so, the author writes, "You may see the end of one thing, or the start of something new" (unpaged). I really liked the author's consideration of trees in so many creative. even playful ways. The Plasticine illustrations are filled with colors and plenty of movement, and certainly appeal to the eye. Students may enjoy comparing this one with the earlier ...more
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My five-year-old son picked this book out from the library this week. I have no idea why, but I'm glad he did.

At first, I was going to give this book three, maybe four, stars. It was just a bit strange and neither my son nor I really got into it. But, about a third of the way through, my son became very interested, and I, who love trees, was challenged to see trees as more than just beautiful sun-brellas.

The text could stand on its own, but I think the reason that both my son and I became so e
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is a great read I received in the mail. My 4 year old son loves it and seems to find a different aspect of the images he hadn't seen previously. The colorful images capture the parallels between the living trees and our human essence.
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the plasticine style illustrations in this, particularly the endpapers. I can see using this with young children and older ones for writing ideas, e.g. Picture an island. I also can see using the endpapers for search and find activites that little one's seem to love.
What a great book! I got this out from the library to share with kids for national forest week. It is definitely all about urban trees, not forest trees, but I love how the trees in each illustration have parallels with the humans shown. Really demonstrates how trees can make an impact on people and how they can make you feel. I spent quite a bit of time pouring over each picture - the author/illustrator really made the text and pictures go so well together. Makes you think deeper about the urba ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stunning illustrations!
Pippin Andrews
An enjoyable read with interesting asides on almost every page, Picture a Tree narrates the story of trees big and small, young and old, often paralleling a tree’s life with the human life cycle and expressing their part in our everyday life. Reid uses lyrical prose along with colourful images to tell the story. It starts with the bare trunk of a tree in winter, and slowly builds the trees’ characters, filling each tree with the features that make a tree a tree, such as the curvy lines of a tree ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you picture a tree? Do you see a drawing on the sky? A tunnel? An ocean? A sun umbrella to stop on your hot walk home? What do you see? These are just some of the ideas that Reid puts forward in her picture book that pays homage to trees and their ever-changing beauty. Starting with the spring and moving through all of the seasons, this book will have you looking into the trees around you and noticing them even more.

Reid’s text here is simple but very effective. She gets you dreaming of y
Carolyn Hart
Marvelous Plasticine illustrations may initially distract young readers from the thought-provoking text in Picture a Tree. Using a combination of Plasticine and paint, Ms. Reid has created beautiful, richly detailed images of trees and the variety of people living, working and playing near them.

Readers are encouraged to notice how trees, whether enormous or freshly planted, change through the year, how various creatures dwell in trees and how the life cycle of a tree can be viewed metaphorically
Karley Olsen
I personally loved this book. I loved how the pictures told a story. Even you didn't read the words, the pictures did the story telling. I loved how the pictures were beautifully drawn and how it shows the different colors of the seasons as they change in time. It was fun to read this book because it made me feel like I was actually going through the changing of the seasons right a long with the book. It was a cute children's book and I definitely would recommend it to any parent, grandparent, a ...more
Steven R. McEvoy
My family and I love the books by Barbara Reid so much. And to be honest I never thought she would create a book I would love more than Perfect Snow but she has done it. This book completely blew us away. The detail and intricacy of the plasticine illustrations of trees is mind-boggling. We can spend ages just going over the inside jackets and all the details in them. This book travels around the seasons and through various locations with a plethora of types, sizes and styles of trees. Even as a ...more
Xin Luan
There are all kinds of trees in all weathers, in different seasons, growing and changing, interacting with the people and animals around them. We can see a growing number of trees in our day life, but we pay little attention to them. Few of us has observed trees carefully. This book filled with colorful illustrations and powerful texts encourage readers to look at trees from multiple perspective. The illustrations of the trees are creative, imaginative, and living. It also remind readers of the ...more
Amy Forrester
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In simple, yet evocative text Reid explores the many ways to picture a tree. You might think that a tree is a tree is a tree, but Reid urges readers to take a closer look. Trees can be “a high-rise home sweet home” or a “sun umbrella on the hot walk home.” The textured illustrations, created with Plasticine shaped and pressed onto illustration board with paint for special effects, present trees in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and species. Use this book for an Earth Day or nature-them ...more
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edes-546, primary
Description: Beautiful plasticine artwork provides detail to a story about different ways we can look at trees. Reid uses poetic language to express her love of nature.

Reaction: I thought it was a lovely was of looking at something we generally take for granted. There is plenty of detail to enjoy in the pictures. The artwork could be extended for creative art projects!

Recommended Age Level: Primary

Subjects/Themes: seasons, trees, plasticine art,

Curriculum Connections: Grade 3 Science - plant gr
Plasticine illustrations shaped and pressed onto illustration board with paint effects added. The texture in this book is amazing! I love all the definitions for trees during the different seasons. An example from the book would be Fall trees having a wild good-bye party. There are one and two page openings for illustrations. Most of the illustrations are full-bleed plasticine layouts, but there are a few cutouts.

This primary picture book could be used for a discussion of seasons,a study of dif
Whole And
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
All of Barbara Reid's books are a magical journey. I especially appreciate "Picture A Tree" because of it's meaningful appreciation of trees, their many uses and value in our lives and world.

"Picture a Tree" is a great book to use as a way of understanding life cycles, honouring the environment, contemplating perception and exploring creative ways to make works of art, such as plasticine.

You will see something new in Reid's detailed and expressive art work every time you turn the page.

This is a book that would be great if you had a seasons theme, but don't limit it's possibilities there. There are so many more layers in this story. The Plasticine style art has a fabulous 3D effect, but the pictures are what really tell the tale in this book. It is not a book to quickly read through and scan, but one to study to see how the nature imitates life. Then put it down and pick it up again to see what you missed the first time. It is one that is good for reading aloud and quiet conte ...more
This story and it's illustrations encourage imaging a tree through different seasons and different perspectives. The illustrations, made with Plasticine, are uniquely texturized. The story ends with, "Picture a tree. What do you see?", allowing for a child and the reader to continue the story with their own images or a walk to find more of the story outside. Toddlers and older will enjoy the story.
Erika Knapp
I personally did not like this book very much. To me, the words were kind of boring. However, the pictures were the most interesting part about the book. The page that I liked the most was page 15, "some trees are sun umbrellas." I like how the author worded this instead of saying how some trees are shady. The pictures in the book were cute and enjoyable to look at but other than that I found the book not as good as other books I have read.
Jason Roop
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libs-642
Reid, B. (2013) Picture a Tree. China: Albert Whitman & Company

Category: Choice (Kirkus Star Review)

This is an interesting book that makes people of all ages think about how they view trees. The book is extremely well done and the illustrations are brilliant. The illustrations are so detailed and well done that a person with knowledge of nature could probably pick them out in the book. I enjoyed the book and believe it would be good for a science class or for an Arbor Day activity.
Sandy Brehl
Regardless of the content, Reid's signature plasticine constructs/illustrations create visual storytelling at its best. In this case, each double page spread, including the end papers, develops a story far beyond the few words on each page. This can serve as mentor text for figurative language, especially metaphor. It's the kind of book that will be reread/re-examined time after time. For anyone who likes "search" books, this is the ideal alternative.
Madly love Reid's Plasticine art. When you picture a tree, what do you see? Birch trees in the fall can look like skeletons, a tree-lined street in spring can look like a tunnel. "A pirate ship, a bear cave, a clubhouse, a friend." Preschool and early elementary teachers will want at least one copy of this for the classroom, as well as art teachers. Kids will be aching to get their hands on clay after seeing this book.
Ying Lee
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an enjoyable reading that celebrates everything about trees. Reid has encouraged readers to look at trees from various perspectives and in many playful ways. Readers can also follow the change of seasons to see the change of trees. Words and pictures complement one another to provide insightful meaning, verbally and visually. The Plasticine style illustrations makes this book quite different from other tree books.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
47 months - after reading Subway Mouse we just had to read more by this author. Her artwork is amazing! We got a bit distracted each time we read this book because the little dog on many of the pages looks like our fox terrier... So of course we had to find them all. Another nice story.... and... Oh, let's not forget the author lives in Toronto and many of the illustrations are very reminiscent of home. :).
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful imaginitive book that not opens adults to seeing trees differently, but a treasure to share with prereaders and beginning readers alike. I love the way the author fosters imagination. Also the simple text and clear illustration make this a great book for older preschool and K-2nd grade storytimes with a science/art slant.

I would love to give this book to my grandnephews to have fun with.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books, 2015
Basic plot: Trees.

There really wasn't much to this particular picture book as far as text. Mostly variations on "look at this tree!"

Where this book shines is in its artwork. The pictures are photos of pictures made in what looks like clay. They're really intricate and clearly took a real eye for detail to create. Honestly, I'd almost ignore the text when reading this just to talk about the pictures with my kid.
This is a great book for young children about all of the different things trees can be. There are many different kinds of trees with different kinds of branches, leaves, shapes, and sizes. Each one has a unique flavor, and each one is important (just like people!). The book ends with a question: what do you see? It's a great conversation starter for children to be able to use their imaginations and combine that with experiences they themselves have had.
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As a child, Barbara Reid loved reading, drawing, writing and fooling around with plasticine. She kept at it, and has written and illustrated 19 picture books, illustrating more than 25. Her books have been published in over a dozen countries, and her signature plasticine relief illustrations have won many awards including a Governor General’s Award for Illustration and the Ezra Jack Keats Award. H ...more
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