I'd venture to say that most kids with even limited exposure to the media have heard of Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus—and probably scores more celebrities. But how well do your youngins know their celebritrees? Yes, that means famous trees. They don't technically sing (unless the wind rolls through their branches), but they sure have acted out a number of roles.
Celebritrees: Historic & Famous Trees of the World (Christy Ottaviano Books) is a kid-friendly “Who’s Who” of the arboreal world. A bristlecone pine residing in California’s Inyo National Forest, for example, has earned the superlative, “oldest known single living organism on earth,” having been around for about 4,800 years. (It's aptly named Methuselah, for the biblical figure who supposedly lived 900 years.) The Tule Tree, meanwhile, is “at present considered the thickest tree of any species anywhere in the world,” writes author Margi Preus, coming in at 177 feet around. According to myth, the Aztecs’ storm god planted this tree 1,400 years ago for the people living in Tule, Mexico. And its trunk is full of faces--well, imaginary ones. The knotty, contorted bark begs kids to point out goblins, elephants, and jaguars among its patterns.
Adding to Celebritrees’ appeal are Rebecca Gibbon’s charming, colorful illustrations. She doesn’t simply paint each of the 14 trees profiled. She also adds myriad details, like birds, bats, and insects flitting around branches; scenery such as barns, houses, or tents; and people—some legendary in their own right, such as Robin Hood. Dressed in his characteristic elfin garb, the philanthropic outlaw stands near “The Major Oak,” an English Oak living in Sherwood Forest and rumored to be a meeting place for Hood and his merry men.
For converted fans, Preus provides an appendix with additional information on the types of trees she focuses on, from sequoias and redwoods to cypress and baobabs (found in Australia). Though it won’t be a cure-all to Bieber Fever, Celebritrees might at least remind kids that fame isn’t just reserved for people.