October 3, 2010

Illustrators often begin their story on the title page with a baseline for the author’s story prior to any words being spoke.  When the author is the illustrator of the book, the vividness of the story is enhanced, in my opinion.  So it is with Redwoods. The book begins with Jason Chin creating an enticing illustration, a foreshadowing of the male character’s adventure that captures the reader’s attention instantaneously.

Product DetailsThe boy is not named in the book, so for my reference, I’ll refer to him as Jace.  Jace is sitting at a subway station and notices the book, Redwoods, left lying on a bench.  As he reads the book, his imagination creates the setting.

The book is created so craftily that my interest is still perked – after three separate readings.  The text is an informative nonfiction with a twist of narrative being created through the illustrations.  Jace is on an adventure, a nature adventure, that teaches him so many new scientific concepts.  The scenes do paint the factual text as well.

For example, the text states that the base is large enough for a tunnel to be cut.  The illustration shows a car moving out of the tunnel as Jace is surprised.  One illustration shows the Statue of Liberty in the forest to demonstrate that one Redwood named  Hyperion is  “six stories taller than the Statue of Liberty.”  Wow.  Kids can connect and visualize that.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Redwoods:

  • Circular Ending – the boy leaves the book on the bench and a girl picks it up
  • Redwoods in Danger section – shares how the trees are endangered
  • Science notebook – If you read the text without showing the illustrations, you learn volumes of great scientific information.  Showing the illustrations helps explain the information better like sketching during scientific observations
  • Author’s note – reading connection!  Jason Chin explains how he read an article and later a book by Richard Preston about the redwoods