Do Trees Sneeze?

30 January 2015

Do Trees Sneeze?
by Jean Freeman
illustrated by Val Lawton
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Jessica Bickford
$12.95 ISBN 9781927756324

Do Trees Sneeze? is the fourth collaboration between the powerhouse children’s book team of author Jean Freeman, and illustrator Val Lawton.  It follows Where Does Your Dog Sleep?, Where Does Your Cat Nap?, and Wascana Wild Goose Chase, which are all just as fun, adorable, and perfect for early readers as this book is.

Lawton’s illustrations are vibrant and energetic, and I especially love the sprightly Nonna who I suspect might be a depiction of Jean Freeman herself.  The trees in this book all have expressive little faces and Lawton captures the change of seasons in a lighthearted way – with the trees painting their own leaves to get ready for winter.  The colours are bright, but I especially love the black and white pages where the children have their eyes closed and are just listening to the rustle in the trees. You can even play a game of spot the bunny on a few of the pages!

The story itself is cute and simple with two grandchildren, a boy and a girl, talking about how their Nonna says that trees sneeze in the autumn and shed all of their leaves at once.  They trust their Nonna because she says that trees are some of her best friends, and she loves to hug them, even though it’s a bit of a scratchy hug.  The children investigate on their own, observing the trees as they shed their leaves, and listening to the tell-tale rustle that leads up to a big tree sneeze.

Do Trees Sneeze? is primarily about the change of seasons from summer to autumn and how the trees prepare themselves for winter, so it would be great to read at that time of year.  And, like all of Freeman’s children’s books, it is excellent for grandparents to read with their grandkids.  I think that this book is a fun way to talk about changing seasons with kids, and will also likely inspire a healthy respect and love for nature through the cute, personified trees.

As always, Freeman and Lawton are the perfect combination of talents to make Do Trees Sneeze? a wonderful and unique little book.


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