Can you hear the trees talking? Discovering the hidden life of the forest

Peter Wohlleben, 1964-

Book - 2019

A global advocate for forests and our relationship with trees shares the mysteries and magic of the forest in language kids can understand. Includes quizzes and hands-on activities.

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Location Call Number   Status
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Instructional and educational works
Illustrated works
Vancouver ; Berkeley : Greystone Kids 2019.
Main Author
Peter Wohlleben, 1964- (author, -)
Other Authors
Shelley Tanaka (translator), Jane Billinghurst, 1958- (author)
Young reader's edition
Item Description
"Originally published in German as: Hörst du wie die Bäume sprechen? Eine kleine Entdeckungsreise durch den Wald by Peter Wohlleben ©2017 Verlag Friedrich Oetinger, Hamburg"--Colophon.
"First published in English in 2019 by Greystone Books. First published in the U.K. in 2020"--Colophon.
"A young readers' edition of ... The hidden life of trees"--Cover.
Physical Description
78 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Includes index.
  • Let's go on a journey of discovery
  • How trees work
  • Growing up in the forest
  • Friends and enemies in the forest
  • Every tree is different
  • Animals in the forest
  • Trees are awesome
  • A year in the forest.
Review by Booklist Review

In the adaptation of his The Hidden Life of Trees (2016), author and forester Wohlleben invites younger readers to join him on a journey of discovery, much like the guided forest walks he has long led. His extensive knowledge presumably based largely on experience, as sources are not cited is pared down into seven chapters, each of which encompasses a series of questions that kids might ask, including common thoughts about trees as well as more surprising angles: How Do Trees Breathe? Why Don't Trees Fall Over? Do Trees Get Pimples? What Are Trees Afraid Of? Can Forests Make It Rain? Every question gets its own section that adheres to the same format: two pages of light text are intercut by a few photographs, with a sidebar containing additional tree trivia; a prompt for a simple; illustrative activity; or a quick quiz. The text itself is well tailored to young readers, keeping a conversational tone and using metaphor to make ideas more relatable. As fascinating and relaxing as a stroll through the woods.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In his debut title for youth, Wohlleben, the German author of the bestselling adult title The Hidden Life of Trees, presents a beautifully laid-out walk through the forest with a kindly guide, who points out fascinating sights and intriguing phenomena. Each chapter, from "How Trees Work" to "A Year in the Forest," is divided into four related questions, such as "How do trees breathe?" and "Why don't trees fall over?" Answers are explained in colorful two-page spreads, which also include one or two special sections that highlight a forest feature, suggest a hands-on activity, or challenge readers with a brief quiz. Slight anthropomorphizing ("Maybe you'll be the one to discover whether trees dream!") puts the reader into a closer relationship with trees, as do comparisons between forest elements and familiar things, such as how root systems can work like the internet. In addition to trees, Wohlleben covers other forest plants and animals, climate, and the four seasons. Captivating, close-up photos illuminate the engaging text, making this both a superb classroom resource and a strong choice for young browsers. Ages 8--10. (Oct.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3--5--This young readers edition offers middle grade readers a chance to explore the wonders of the forest. The author explains the complex interactions that allow trees to communicate with and protect one another, feel fear, and show bravery. Under ideal conditions, trees in forests form families and devise methods to ensure the long life and survival of their species. Wohlleben introduces the basic science behind how trees work, how they make babies, who are their friends and enemies, and what it takes to survive storms, infestations, and droughts. Using terms like mothers, babies, and schools and describing the trees as having emotions such as fear and longing, the author anthropomorphizes trees' relationships with one another and with the animal kingdom. Although unusual, this format makes for easier comprehension of a complex subject matter and emphasizes the necessity of respecting trees and preserving forests. There is no mention of climate change and the future effects of global warming on trees and forests. VERDICT With many illustrations, sidebars, quizzes, and projects this is an outstanding introduction into the world of trees. Highly recommended for students of science, environment, and ecology.--Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A child-friendly version of the popular adult title The Hidden Life of Trees (2016).There is irony in the idea of revising for children an adult book that boldly challenges the conventional science that keeps humanity strongly detached from the plant kingdom. Indeed, many books for children already deliberately and effectively use terminology of human activities to introduce the vocabulary and rudiments of photosynthesis, and so does this text. The latter word never occurs here, although it states: "Leaves mix water with certain parts of the air to make sugar," and notes the need for light to produce energy. It goes on to describe tree leaves as having thousands of tiny mouths for breathing and later notes that trees don't drink in winter because "you can't drink ice cubes." Intense anthropomorphism continues throughout, with chapters discussing such topics as tree classrooms, mother trees, and how an "annoyed" birch tree will use the wind to whip its branches against an encroaching tree. Occasionally, readers will notice apparent contradictions, unlikely assumptions, and odd duplication, perhaps a result of the reduction. Nevertheless, the book is full of pertinent information, including the importance of fungi to roots and of trees to one another. The author transmits both wonder and fun, even adding tree-themed activities for children to try with willing adults. A forest's worth of appealing sidebars, pop-up quizzes with fascinating statistics, and colorful photographs add to a strong subtext: Forest preservation is not just important, but imperative.A tree-treatise treat. (Nonfiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.