Review: The Book of Australian Trees

This book is a love song to Australia Trees. The sound of this song comes through in poetic prose.

Each tree has a harmony attached to it. It whispers to the singular bark, leaves, and especially to the living things that draw life from its existence, including humans.

It is the first book for children on Australian trees. That’s why this book stands out.

The beautiful illustrations by Alicia Rogerson allow identification of trees planted on nature strips throughout our country and happily, in the suburbs where our children pass daily.

Each tree is presented with its origins, place of residence and growth, lifespan, the type of bark that covers its trunk and the evolution of this bark. It also speaks of its leaves. For example, the colour of the bell-shaped flowers that adorn the Illawarra Flame tree – (Brachychiton acerifolius) after the leaves have fallen.

There are strong trees that withstand fires and others that don’t. Each tree’s contribution to the ecosystem is noted in an expansive and interesting form.

When addressing the Moreton Bay Fig – (Ficus macrophylla), its size and volume is what stands out. Green catbirds, wompoo fruit-doves, topknot pigeons, regent bowerbirds and grey-headed flying-foxes feast on its fruit.

This tree grows up to sixty metres high and spreads as much. Famous for their massive roots, the Morton Bay Fig trunks expand and twist as if swaying to an invisible sound.

A symphony of sound, Latin and English, is the ancient Antarctic Beech – (Nothofagus Moorei), which now grows in the areas known as Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. They also have twisted trunks covered in moss and lichen. Their new spring foliage is bright red or orange.

We are surprised on every page by the information offered to accompany the stunning images. Facts about each tree are a pleasure to read and learn about as the prose has a light-hearted joy to it, as if the writer sees for the first time, what she describes.

Inga Simpson is a tree lover that spends a lot of time walking through forests. Author of Understory and Where the Trees Were, nature dictates her life by singing its song to her heart.

Title: The Book of Australian Trees
Author: Inga Simpson
Illustrator: Alicia Rogerson
Publisher: Hachette, $ 29.99
Publication Date: 26 May 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734418531
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book

May 26, 2021 at 12:33PM Anastasia Gonis