Tree – a gorgeous book about seasonal changes

posted in: Britta Teckentrup, Patricia Hegarty | 16

treefrontcoverWise old owl who lives in this tree has seen it all before, but in fact there’s something reassuring about his experiences. Seasons come and seasons go, but life continues. And it’s a beautiful life, one to take time to savour.

Tree by Britta Teckentrup (@BTeckentrup) explores the life of a tree across the span of a single year, watching changes in leaves, blossom, fruit and the landscape around. Teckentrup celebrates the seasons with eye-catching beauty and soothingly rhythmic, lullaby-like text, reminding me of Walt Whitman’s tree which “utter[s] joyous leaves“.

We witness the circle of life not just on the tree, but also with the animals who visit; look out for the birds who build a nest and see what happens! What makes this book about seasonal changes stand out is its beauty, attention to detail, and lovely, quiet text which works very well for reading aloud. The physical book is incredibly inviting – from the textured hardback cover, to the satisfyingly thick pages, and most delightful of all – the peep-through holes, which page-turn by page-turn reveal and then conceal visiting animals.

The illustrations look like relief printing, with a handmade texture and matt finish that perfectly reflects a delight in nature and “the natural”. Jubilant use of colour lights up every page.


Interestingly, the text for this picture book was actually written by Patricia Hegarty, but her name doesn’t appear on the book cover or title page inside. I imagine this is because the book is really a vehicle to let Teckentrup’s illustrations sing – which they do in all their glory – but it’s an interesting detail given the current debate about equal recognition for authors and illustrators reflected by the Pictures Mean Business campaign. Do you know of any other picture books where the author doesn’t get the same credit as the illustrator?


Sumptuous, strokable and always in season, Tree tells a timeless tale to delight all.


Inspired by Teckentrup’s artwork, we set about creating our own colourful trees. First we stencilled a trunk…


…before adding tissue paper leaves in a variety of colours.


When dry, we cut out our trees to include their canopy, added a few hand-drawn animals, and put them up somewhere a little bit unusual – by our skirting board – so that other woodland creatures could come and play.





Whilst creating our trees we listened to:

  • Falling by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights
  • Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams. Part of an essential education, surely?
  • July Tree sung by Nina Simone

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Tree include:

  • Tree handprints through the seasons, with this tutorial from 123 Homeschool 4 Me
  • A book in the form of a tree changing seasons, with this tutorial from Baker Ross
  • Any one of the leaf crafts gathered together by Red Ted Art

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Overlapping tissue paper suncatchers
  • Tissue paper bird wings
  • Making a pine forest – this makes a lovely Christmas decoration!
  • tissuepapertrees

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    16 Responses

    1. Katherine

      I’ve loved the look of this book since I first saw the reviews coming out, I am a big fan of Britta Teckentrup’s illustrations. Love the idea of making scenes with the Sylvanians, wonder if my mum still has all my sister’s old ones in the loft?
      Katherine recently posted..A move

    2. Simone Fraser

      Not sure what I enjoy more – the featured illustrations or what your children have created, Zoe. I love the sense of the toys having a wonderful place to sit under.
      Regarding the book and its illustrations, the permanence of the owl through the seasons is endearing and a touch comical. I will check my local store, Better Read Than Dead, tomorrow to determine whether it’s in stock in Sydney yet. Really looking forward to it.

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