Thea’s Tree

November 21, 2008

Alison Jackson creates a twist in her book, Thea’s Tree.  A young girl, Thea, is asked to do a scientific project for four weeks, making observations along the way.  The story transpires through a series of letters between Thea, her teacher, and other experts as she hypothesizes about her tree.  Alison Jacksonthrows in humor with clues, keeping the reader wondering and interested as to what tree has sprouted.

This account is written through letters – first to her teacher and then to specialists.  Thea is diligent in making frequent observations, even drawing her findings.  As an objective scientist, Thea measures, ponders clues, and speculates on her findings in her letters.  A purple seed is planted, and what seems ordinary, becomes very quizzical.  Thea speculates it to be a “purple African rubber plant” to a “giant redwood.”

As a fun read aloud, this book helps to build background knowledge in scientific observation.  Alison Jackson throws in humor with the clues, keeping the reader wondering and interested.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Thea’s Tree:

  • Letter writing – each closing is unique; colon in the greeting
  • Alliteration – expert names with their jobs:  “Zoe Zimmerman Zoologist
  • Occupations – curator, botanist, orchestra director
  • Foreshadowing/predictions – sounds, objects from above
  • Scientific observation – measuring, factual description, speculation
  • Hybrid text – interweaves a fairy tale with in the illustrations and clues;letter writing, narrative, science theme
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