Book Review: Trout Are Made of Trees
“Trout are made of trees.”
“Wait, trout are made of trees?”
That was my approximate reaction to reading the title of this book for the first time. Then I considered the statement. Hmm, sounds kind of “circle of lifey”. Well let it be known: this book has no problem at all with Elton John’s soundtrack work. A great non-fiction picture book that combines the food chain, life cycles, and ecology into a package that works for students in the “Lower Elementary” grades.
The story uses basic yet expressive text to describe the action while we follow friends on a camping trip observing the food web firsthand. As the title suggests, it all starts with the trees:
“In fall, trees let go of leaves, which swirl and twirl, and slip into streams.”
From there, the process goes a little something like this: leaves get eaten up by bacteria; bacteria gets eaten by “shredders”(which are small insects); shredders are devoured by “predators” (larger insects like dragonflies); and finally we come to the aforementioned trout. The trout snap up the predators and are on their merry way. Each turn of the page reveals the next step in the food chain. But it doesn’t end there. The last page of the book shows how humans are involved, allowing the reader to consider the big picture.
Mixed media collage is used for the book’s illustrations, with stunning results. The illustrator even manages to pull off the hatching of trout eggs with flying colors. Add some back of the book information on the life cycle of the trout and tips on how to be an earth-saving “stream hero”, and you’ve got yourself one solid entry into the non-fiction picture book arena.
Also Reviewed By: Charlotte’s Library
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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