Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Tell Me, Tree


Tell Me, Tree, written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons, presents a close-up look for children at many important characteristics, purposes, and behavioral traits of trees.  Gibbons exposes readers to an abundance of different types of individual trees, as well as the parts, functions, and growth methods of a trees in general.  She even touches on photosynthesis and how trees are helpful to humans, animals, and the environment.  Each page begins with, “tell me, tree,” and is followed by an insightful explanation about a various aspect of trees.  For example, page seven reads, “tell me more, tree” and is followed with an illustration of the inside of a tree trunk, whereby stating that underneath the bark is a thin layer called phloem, that carries food from leaves to the branches, roots, and trunk.  Gibbons completes this vividly colorful, instructional book with directions for children to create their very own tree identification book.

Curriculum Connections
This book is perfect as an instructional tool in the classroom due to the over-sized, dramatic images that are labeled in detailed and easy to understand.  It can also be used as a reference source, or even a dictionary, for children when completing experiments, projects, or in-class work that focuses on plant life.  The book helps readers to see the importance of trees in everyday life as children in the book are seen observing, using, and appreciating trees and plants.  In thoroughly highlighting plant life, plant characteristics, and photosynthesis, Tell Me, Tree works to help students see the diversity among plants and trees, as well as the important role that plants play in every day life (Virginia Standards of Learning 4.4 a, b, c, and d).

Additional Resources

  • This Photosynthesis Lesson  is a great online tutorial for kids, giving them the opportunity to read text and fill in the blanks to test knowledge.
  • Children can use this interactive tree key to better understand how to identify trees.
  • Children can go to this page to find exciting plant experiments they can easily conduct to discover interesting facts about plants.

Book: Tell Me, Tree
Author/Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 30 pages
Grade Range: Recommended K-3
ISBN: 0-316-30903-6

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