Trees have long been considered nearly sacred, as they provide food, medicine, shelter, shade, natural materials and, most importantly, oxygen. More than just nature-lovers and tree-huggers will be happy with what lies beneath the unnaturally bright cover of Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World.
The layout of this book is similar to a lot of encyclopaedic-style books with a picture page opposing a page of type. The text is well designed. There is a clean division between the section offering facts (such as height, girth, fruits, type of leaf) and the section telling the story, myth or legend relating to the tree.
The computer generated illustrations are created with an acidic palette. The style employed is trendy and some pictures are much more appealing than others, but the stories are the real charm of the book. Included in the tales are familiar favourites such as Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest, Isaac Newton’s Apple Tree, and Anne Frank’s Horse Chestnut Tree. Some myths are lesser known. A treat awaits on the final spread where a lovely infographic shows the height of each tree in relation to an average person. The stories are very brief and I am sadly left wanting more, but 5 – 7 and 8 – 10 year-olds will be well entertained as well as educated.