Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest
Andy Hirsch is responsible for one of my favorite Science Comics titles, the one about dogs. That’s a high bar to meet, and I have to say, I wasn’t quite as involved in Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest — but trees are a very different subject. They’re more inspiring than adorable.
Although Hirsch tries to recapture the cute with his narrator, an acorn, this is instead a volume more about knowledge, and there’s plenty covered. A frog, a leaf, a beetle, a squirrel, and a woodpecker all try to talk the acorn into accepting his fate of being a tree by describing how impressive they are. As a result, we learn about
- germination and how roots form
- what determines direction of tree growth and how it’s affected by environment
- where trees get energy and their place in the ecosystem
- the difference between trees and plants
- why trees have bark
- different types of trees and species diversity
- flowers, pollen, seeds, and fruit
- the fungi-based mycorrhizal network of communication
- and why trees are green
There’s a ton of information packed in here! Even with all this, Hirsch keeps the pages visually interesting through his acorn’s expressions and gestures. It’s amazing how expressive a simple shape can be in the right hands. That’s why bits of this information will stick with me. A favorite lesson was the one on different types of symbiotic relationships. Hirsch does a terrific job with both anthropomorphized creatures and more realistic forest settings.
There’s a lot of specialty vocabulary about cells and tree structures, so the five-page glossary in the back is a helpful resource. There are also some leaf type samples and a bibliography.
Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest is due out August 21 in both paperback and hardcover editions. It can be preordered now from your local comic shop with Diamond code JUN18 1777 (paperback) or JUN18 1778 (hardcover). (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)