Zee grows a tree

Elizabeth Rusch

Book - 2021

A creative nonfiction story about about a little girl and an evergreen tree that grow up side by side on her family's Christmas tree farm. -- adapted from Amazon.com.

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Creative nonfiction
Informational works
Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2021.
First edition
Physical Description
29 pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Includes bibliographical references (page 29) and index.
Main Author
Elizabeth Rusch (author)
Other Authors
Will Hillenbrand (illustrator)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

When the white Cooper parents, owners of Coopers' Christmas Tree Farm, welcome daughter Zee, the infant receives a potted Douglas-fir seedling labeled "Zee's Tree." In simple prose, Rusch details Zee's life from birth to age eight, paralleling her yearly milestones with the tree's, the growth of which is bolstered by the compassionate care the child provides: "When summer arrived, Zee outgrew all her clothes. Zee's tree grew, too, reaching a foot higher in just one month!" Facts about Douglas-firs, printed in a smaller font, also feature on intermittent pages ("Douglas-firs enter a period of inactivity in the winter called dormancy"). Hillenbrand's mixed-media illustrations employ a soft, classic picture book style, with dot-eyed human figures in a sweet, friendly palette. Aspiring botanists will welcome this detailed examination of Douglas-firs. Back matter includes an index, holiday tree suggestions, and additional resources. Ages 5–8. (Mar.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 3—On the day that Zee was born, a Douglas-fir seedling planted on her parents' Christmas tree farm began growing. As Zee grew up and developed, so did the tree. This beautifully designed picture book follows their development, showing readers how Zee and the tree changed and grew over time. For example, when Zee started kindergarten, she adopted a new fashion style. In turn, she shaped the tree and pruned its top and sides the way tree farmers do. When Zee was in the second grade, she lost three teeth. At this time, the tree sprouted new buds at the top and started growing branches. Two levels of text move the narrative along—larger-size font details the story of the girl and the tree and smaller-sized font provides additional information about Douglas-firs. Readers learn about dormancy, how trees keep from freezing in the winter, how farmers can add nutrients to the soil, and that an uncut Douglas-fir can live for hundreds of years and grow more than 300 feet tall. At the same time, the unfolding family story is subtly told through words and illustrations. At the end of the story, readers learn that the tree is ready to become a "holiday tree." The illustrations show that the tree has not been cut down. Instead, Zee has decorated it outside. VERDICT This title is a brilliant combination of storytelling and factual information. The narrative celebrates a caring family and a young girl's growing love of nature. The information adds to readers' understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Highly recommended.—Myra Zarnowski, City Univ. of New York Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Born at the same time a Douglas-fir seedling emerges from the nursery bed on her family's Christmas tree farm, young Zee grows up beside the tree as both thrive and become taller throughout the years"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Born at the same time a Douglas-fir seedling emerges from the nursery bed on her family’s Christmas tree farm, young Zee grows up beside the tree as both thrive and become taller throughout the years. Illustrated by the artist of Bear in Love. Illustrations. Bibliography. Index.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A fact-filled story about a little girl and an evergreen tree that grow up side by side. Perfect for anyone who loves the natural world'or wonders about the origins of their holiday tree.On the morning little Zee Cooper is born, a Douglas-fir seedling emerges from the nursery bed at her family's Christmas tree farm. As Zee and the tree grow up together, they experience many of the same milestones. When Zee starts preschool, her tree is ready to start life outside the nursery. As Zee outgrows all her clothes, her tree grows taller, too. When Zee gets a whole new look for kindergarten, her tree gets a spiffy transformation as well. And as the years go on, Zee takes loving care of her tree, watering it through heat waves and protecting it from winter winds. Combining interesting details about how trees are grown and cared for on a farm with the sweet story of a friendship between a girl and her special tree, Zee Grows a Tree offers a blend of fiction and nonfiction that will draw the interest of young nature lovers everywhere. In the back of the book, readers will find an index, bibliography, and an author's note suggesting some ways to enjoy a holiday tree without cutting one down.