Friday, February 22, 2013

PPBF: Sky Tree

My blog is ONE YEAR OLD today! I'll be celebrating with a brownie sundae :)  THANK YOU to all of my readers. Wednesday's post is for you!

1.There is still time to join in the February discussion by posting your favorite Caldecott winner. Come and see which books are already being discussed!

2. March's topic is friendship (picture book). I'll hope you'll join the discussion.

Title: Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art
Author/IllustratorThomas Locker with Candace Christiansen
Publisher/Date: Harper Collins Publishers/1995
Genre/Audience: Fiction & Nonfiction/Ages 5+
Themes: Trees, Science, Landscape, Seasons, Weather

"Once a tree stood alone on a hill by the river. Through the long days, its leaves fluttered in the soft summer breeze."

Synopsis: (From

A tree stands on a hill by a river. As the sky changes, so does the tree, its branches filling with clouds, stars, snow, birds, mists, and the golden spring sun. One tree can mean many things.
Thomas Locker's lyrical text records the changes in the tree's world just as simply as a child might observe them, and his magnificent paintings crystallize the natural phenomena that embellish the tree on each page. Questions at the bottom of each page lead to a unique discussion in the back of the book, where art and science are intertwined, and further depth is added to the wonder of Sky Tree.

Why I Love This Book
I really do LOVE this book. The paintings are exquisite; all use the same subject and scene, yet all are so very different. There are so many levels to this book. It follows a tree through the seasons and encourages the reader to closely observe the art while contemplating a scientific question. If you are looking for an interdisciplinary book to bridge the arts and sciences, this is it!

I used this in my third grade classroom. We picked a tree on school grounds to observe throughout the year. I'd use this book as an introduction to our periodic outings. Students did sketches of "our" tree and took notes in their science notebooks. As the book demonstrates, you could easily extend this activity by having students paint the tree they saw that day and then collect them in a class book.

The book's appendix offers answers to the science questions and furthers the discussion.

Paintings and Bio of Thomas Locker (Look for his other picture books, which are all perfect for the science classroom and teaching about the natural world.)

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. What a fabulous book! Those that teach educational content and encourage thought and questions are my favorites. Thanks for sharing...

  2. Anything that links art and science is something I'm on board with. I'm not convinced they aren't the same thing...

  3. Wow, a lyrical, beautiful interdisciplinary book. Thanks so much for this recommendation.

  4. Laura, what a stunning cover! It is such a beautiful topic that involves the cycles of life. Laura, I really liked how you used the book with your class and chose a tree to observe throughout the year. A fabulous exercise in teaching kids to become more aware or their surroundings and being present.

    1. It is a nice book for bridging the classroom experience and the natural world.

  5. The title is good enough for me!

  6. We are BIG Thomas Locker fans at my house!! His books are exquisite! I've not seen this one though, so I'll have to look for it. I like that you had your class observing your tree. What a great teacher you are! Thanks so very much for sharing!

    1. He's an amazing artist. I really enjoyed reading his background at the link I posted.

  7. First off - Happy First Blogiversary! So exciting to be one! :)

    This book sounds and looks wonderful, Laura! You've totally piqued my interest - I want to see all the pictures right this minute! And how great to have a picture book that bridges fiction and non-fiction, the arts and the sciences so neatly. Great addition to the list! Thank you :)

    1. Thanks, Susanna! You won't be disappointed with this book. It covers so much territory in such a compact space. This is a "must-own", in my humble opinion :)

  8. Happy blog-birthday, Laura! (Sorry I'm so late to the party...) This book sounds wonderful -- mingling the arts and science in such a seamless way is absolutely amazing!