Sunday, March 28, 2021

Growing Time: Zee Grows a Tree by Elizabeth Rusch

Growing up is hard to do!

On the same spring day that Zee emerges as a newborn, a new seedling Douglas fir emerges from its pot at Coopers' Christmas Tree Farm. Her parents name it "Zee's Tree."

 As her parents care for baby Zee day and night, they also take care to see that the baby tree gets the right nutrients, water, and temperature for it to thrive. As baby Zee gets big enough to get around on her own, the tiny fir, still inches short of a foot tall, is planted in the soil, and at first it grows below ground, putting down deep roots. Both grow, but Zee and her tree are a little shorter than most of the others of their age, but her father says...


And Dad's right: during that summer Zee gets to big for her spring clothes and Zee's Tree grows a whole foot taller in a month--now taller that she is!

Zee gets all new clothes--school clothes--as she boards the Kindergarten bus, and her tree gets its first trimming, too. Soon Zee is a first grader and then it's time to lose some baby teeth. Her tree puts on new buds and begins to shoot up, too.

But late in spring, the rains stop and the tree's top branches grow brown in the drought. Zee waters her tree often, and following directions, spreads ice cubes around its roots to keep the soil cool.


In the fall she spreads mulch to keep the moisture in the ground around her tree, and come cold weather, she and Dad put up a windscreen to keep away the dry, ice-chilled winds of winter, and when her eighth birthday rolls around in the spring, Zee's Tree is sturdy and well again.

In fact, by late fall it is so tall and beautiful that Zee needs a ladder to put the star on top for its first year as an outdoor Christmas tree, in Elizabeth Rusch's newest, Zee Grows a Tree (Candlewick Press, 2021). With loving attention to care for a child and the cultivation of a young tree, this how-to story book, part fiction and part nonfiction, shows how a child transfers the love devoted to her nurture to the growth of her very own tree. In author Rusch's gentle text, the little fir tree grows and thrives along with its young arborist, shown in the soft but realistic artwork of Will Hillebrand, and bolstered by an index of tree-growing terms and a brief bibliography of books about the joy and skills of growing your own tree. Says School Library Journal, "... a brilliant combination of storytelling and factual information."

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home