Big Tree by Brian Selznick

Published by Scholastic

Summary:  Melvin and Louise are two seeds nestled cozily in a seedpod, secure in the love and wisdom provided by their mother, a giant sycamore tree.  A natural disaster flings them into the world, where they travel over land and sea, meeting all kinds of wise and wonderful creatures.  While their mother sought to give them both roots and wings, imaginative Louise is filled with wonder and hope, while Melvin is bound by his worries and fears.  When the two are separated, Melvin finds himself trapped for many, many years, never forgetting his sister.  Eventually he learns the lessons of the universe that Louise already instinctively knew, and the two meet again in a wondrous reunion.  Includes an afterword that explains some of the scientific references, a bibliography, and an author’s note that tells how the story came to be.  528 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  Brian Selznick has created a masterpiece of prose and art in the style of his previous books.  This book was inspired by a movie idea that Steven Spielberg had, looking at the history of the Earth from the perspective of nature itself.  It is a wildly creative and ambitious story that includes dinosaurs, volcanoes, meteors, dinosaurs, mushroom ambassadors, and so much more.  

Cons:  Readers might need some guidance to understand all that is going on during this long period of Earth’s history.  The back matter is a useful guide for this.

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