Trees tell stories about places. Australia has some of the tallest, oldest, fattest, and most unusual trees in the world. From the red ironbark to the grey gum, the Moreton Bay fig to bunya pine, trees are each a little different – just like people.
Trees have changed over thousands of years, adapting to this continent’s deserts, mountains, and coasts. Many have found clever ways of dealing with drought and fire.
Their leaves, flowers and seeds are food for birds, insects and mammals.
Old trees have lots of hollows, which make good homes for possums, sugar gliders, birds and bees. But trees aren’t just important for other animals – we need them too. What trees breathe out, we breathe in. They are a vital part of the Earth’s ecosystems.
When you first stand in a forest, the trees all seem the same. But if you look more closely, they are each a little different. The Book of Australian Trees is the first book for children from Inga Simpson, one of Australia’s most beloved authors.
I was completely charmed by this book. It’s informative and to the point, with stunning illustrations. Illustrator Alicia Rogerson is inspired by nature and objects that allow her artworks to be bold and inspiring – which is clear in this book.
This book is filled with illuminating facts about trees, particularly in relation to bushfires. For instance, rose gum trees’ upper bark sheds each year, peeling down in ribbons that are designed to catch fire and pass it on, so the tree itself doesn’t burn down. How cool is that? Simpson herself was evacuated twice as bushfires engulfed surrounding settlements, so it’s clear where her inspiration for this book stems from.
The Book of Australian Trees is a love song to Australian trees. It describes the trees, their features, and suggests ways we can care for reliant endangered animals. It’s a valuable addition to any bookshelf. I recommend it for readers aged 8+.