Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World
This gorgeous, oversized picture book will create new appreciation for nature, obviously, but also for cultures around the world. Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World is written by Iris Volant and illustrated by Cynthia Alonso.
Each page describes a particular type of tree — such as willow, coconut, birch, or eucalyptus — accompanied by a lovely illustration of a legend or key moment associated with them. The apple tree, for example, gets a picture of Isaac Newton thinking about gravity. The olive tree is responsible for Athens being named after Athena, who in Greek myth brought it to the people.
We see a Japanese cherry tree viewing party and learn about the Boston elm that became the American Liberty Tree. The ash tree was used to make lacrosse sticks for the Powhatans, and Vincent Van Gogh painted cypress trees. (Sadly, for Monty Python fans, there is no larch included.)
In between are descriptions of classic or mythological trees, such as the oak trees of Sherwood Forest, how the firs of the Black Forest inspired the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, and the importance of the Amazon rainforest. The calm colors of the images and their flat but expansive arrangement are reminiscent of mid-century design.
At over fifty pages, there’s a lot of information here, with most readers exposed to greenery they weren’t previously familiar with. Under the Canopy can be read and re-read and will likely inspire readers to learn more in additional books.