A single apple tree standing in a forest is the focus of this beautiful book that documents the seasonal changes through a whole year and the fauna and flora associated with that tree.
When we first see the tree, the forest is in the grip of midwinter’s icy chill; a lone owl sits watchful in its hole in the tree trunk as snow falls blanketing the ground.. From this viewpoint, readers and the owl can see the surrounding landscape and the subtle changes it undergoes as the snow starts to melt, small shoots peep through, new leaves unfurl, and blossom opens while bear cubs scramble up the trunk. (These, like the owl can be seen through the strategically placed die-cuts that increase in number on the trunk and branches as the year moves towards the height of summer and decrease in number to the owl’s lone look out as midwinter once more comes around, and disappear in the penultimate spread.) Gradually more creatures show themselves: squirrels frolic in the branches and birds build their nests, their song filling the air.
Summer brings a high sun, the hum of bees, butterflies on the wing and the gradual ripening of fruit. This is followed by autumn’s richly glowing palette, dewy grass and fallen fruit. Animals begin to gather food in preparation for the even colder nights and winter days that are once more coming around. Then for the animals, it’s time to take shelter again and then in the depth of midwinter, all is silent; the forest sleeps.
Not only have we followed the seasonal changes but also watched day turning to night in Britta Teckentrup’s wonderfully crafted book. Patricia Hegarty’s lyrical rhyming couplets accompanying the scenes are equally well crafted and a pleasure to read aloud; they too merit attention and savouring.