Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tree of Wonder

Tree of Wonder

Picture book
I bet about now your living room is featuring the tree that will
be central to your Christmas celebration. If you're anything like me,
it has been carefully decorated with ornaments, many passed down over
the years. It just makes you happy to behold it.
This is a good time to think of the trees we tend to pass by in
everyday life (especially if you live in a state like Maine where
there are a gazillion of them) and the role they play in the well
being of our planet. Kate Messner's Tree of Wonder: The Many
Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree is a beautiful inspiration for
this contemplation.
Messner looks at a rainforest almendro tree and the many living
things that depend on it for food and shelter. Among others, you will
learn about:
*two great green macaws who return every year to lay eggs and raise
*eight howler monkeys and sixteen fruit bats that spread seeds in the
course of dining on the tree's fruit;
*two hundred fifty six poison dart frogs that carry their tadpoles on
their backs to relative safety in pools of water in the tree...
My favorites are the blue morpho butterflies that sip the juice of
rotting fruit. Their bright wings can be folded so their brown
underside helps them use the tree as camoflauge.
All that in one tree!
I have a suggestion for a family activity. After you enjoy the
book choose a tree in your own neighborhood and try to figure out how
many creatures depend on it for food and shelter. You have to be
quite clever. Some critters may be present only certain times of the
year like birds who nest in the spring. Some may be nocturnal. Some
may be very tiny. If a woodpecker hammers away at a tree, you can
surmise that it provides a home for insects. You probably won't find
as dramatic a cast as you would in a tropical rainforest. But you may
be surprised by the number and variety of critters you uncover. I saw
the cutest little red squirrel scamper to safety in a tree just this
On a personal note, my Orono Methodist church choir had a wonderful
party for choir members. We played games, talked, learned who our
Secret Santas were, and feasted on treats and spiced hot cider. A
good time was had by all.
A great big shout out goes out to my Methodist choir family and the
talented and dedicated director who keeps us in harmony.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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