A great book for kids and their grown-ups

'The Tree Book For Kids and Their Grown-ups' is a delight for all ages.

Have you ever picked up a book and felt that everything about it was "just right"? That was my reaction when I was introduced to "The Tree Book For Kids and Their Grown-ups" over the weekend.

Everything about it was irresistible, starting with the enchanting illustrations. Sixteen tiny trees grace both the front and back covers of the book -- very reminiscent of Tasha Tudor. The ones inside -- while no less charming -- are large and more realistic, so that you can learn, for instance, what the capsule and leaf buds of the horse chestnut look like up close.

I'm not sure what age this book is aimed at, but you could definitely read it -- and discuss it -- with the pre-reading crowd. Elementary-school-age kids interested in science or trees will love it on their own.

This is a book that doesn't talk down to kids or insult their intelligence with vague pablum. Did you know that those free-floating fruits or seed capsules on maple trees are called samaras?

Or that ground-up horse chestnuts, make good library paste?

The first part of the book discusses trees in general -- how leaves change color, why we need trees, and how a tree "eats and drinks," among other topic. Then 33 specific trees are detailed on two-page spreads.

I'm sometimes called a "garden expert," but I can tell you that I learned things from "The Tree Book." What that says to me is that even on the 51st reading, it still won't bore grown-ups who introduce kids to it.

Written and illustrated by landscape architect Gina Ingoglia, it's a charming book to buy and enjoy with your kids or grandkids. If you don't have any of your own, borrow a couple so you can enjoy the book anyway.

(Note: We invite you to visit the Monitor's main gardening page, which offers articles, essays, and blogs on a wide variety of garden topics.)

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