The latest educational scuttlebutt when it comes to books and the Common Core State Standards is multi-subject non-fiction, or combining math facts with science and history in one book. Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree by the multitalented Kate Messner, with superb illustrations by Simona Mulizzani is a perfect example of this!
Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree begins with one almendro tree. Rather than a traditional narrative, text directs the reader to the many wonders of the tree and the creatures living in, on and around it. Supplemental text on every page provides additional information about the flora and fauna presented.
Messner sneaks math into the book with a creature count that comes with each page turn. One almendro tree leads to two great green macaws who have made a nest in a hollow left by a broken branch on the tree.
Soon, there are sixty-four agoutis and then 128 blue morpho butterflies. The actual representation of each of these creatures on the page adds to the fun of Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree.
Finally, 1,024 leaf cutter ants wrap up the book. Messner does a wonderful job presenting animals that fans of the rain forest might be familiar with and some that are a bit out of the ordinary, like the Fer-de-Lance snake and the Rusty Wandering Spider. Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree ends with additional information about the almendro tree, the rain forest and conservation. A second page has "rain forest math" that gives readers challenges based on illustrations from the book!
I love the combination of math, science and nature all in one place and hope that his is a trend that continues! If you liked Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree be sure to check out Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals' Lives by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal.
Source: Review Copy