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Children's Fiction General

Picture a Tree

illustrated by Barbara Reid

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 8
  • Grade: 2


Picture a tree — what do YOU see?

Picture a tree, from every season, and from every angle. These wondrous beings give shade and shelter. They protect, and bring beauty to, any landscape.

Now look again. Look closer.

A tree's colours both soothe and excite. Its shape can ignite the imagination and conjure a pirate ship, a bear cave, a clubhouse, a friend; an ocean, a tunnel, and a home sweet home. Its majestic presence evokes family, growth, changes, endings and new beginnings.

Picture a tree — what do you see? The possibilities are endless.

In this gorgeous new picture book, Barbara Reid brings her vision, her craft, and her signature Plasticine artwork to the subject of trees. Each page is a celebration, and you will never look at trees in quite the same way again.

About the author


Barbara Reid réalise des illustrations avec de la pâte à modeler pour ensuite laisser le soin à son conjoint, Ian Chrisler de les photographier. Barbara a signé plusieurs livres à titre d'auteure malgré qu'elle avoue ne pas éprouver autant de plaisir à écrire une histoire qu'à l'illustrer. Elle a gagné plusieurs prix dont le prix du Gouverneur général et en 2014, le prix Libris dans la catégorie album illustré. Elle est aussi membre de l'Ordre de l'Ontario et de l'Ordre du Canada. Barbara vit à Toronto.


BARBARA REID is one of Canada’s most renowned creators of picture books, including Picture the Sky (Imagine le ciel), Picture a Tree, Perfect Snow and The Party. Her vibrant dimensional illustrations make her work a favourite around the world, and she has received many honours and awards, including the Governor General’s Award, the UNICEF Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award and CBC’s Fan Choice Award. In 2013, Barbara was made a member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the Canadian children’s literature community. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, photographer Ian Crysler. Visit her at


Barbara Reid's profile page


  • Short-listed, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
  • Short-listed, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award
  • Short-listed, Shining Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice)
  • Winner, CBA Libris Awards - Children's Picture Book of the Year
  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Award for Young People's Literature - Illustration
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets, Honourable Mention
  • Commended, Toronto Public Library First & Best booklist

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Picture a Tree

Winner, CBA Libris Picture Book of the Year, 2012Finalist, Governor General's Award, 2012Finalist, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, 2012Shortlist, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, 2012Shortlist, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for Illustration, 2012Shortlist, Shining Willow Award, 2012CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2012OLA Best Bests, 2011Toronto Public Library "First & Best" Booklist 2011

*"Virtuoso Plasticine artist Barbara Reid has created another extraordinary book to delight readers of every age." —Quill & Quire, starred review

*"Readers will marvel at the amazing details . . . a special book indeed." —Kirkus, starred review

*"From striking double-page spreads to inviting endpapers, these delightful illustrations reward close attention with clever details." —Booklist, starred review

"Another bravura performance from Reid." —The Globe & Mail

"From the opening flyleaves to the last page, Picture a Tree is a marvel of sharp observation, appreciation and playfulness . . . Excellent." —The Toronto Star

Librarian Reviews

Picture a Tree

“There is more than one way to picture a tree.” What an intriguing suggestion! Picture a Tree invites us to take a closer look at these natural sentinels. What do you see when you use your imagination? Trees can be transformed into tunnels, oceans, pirate ships, urban domiciles, bear caves and sun umbrellas. Depending on their chronological growth, there are baby trees, adolescents, grown-ups and grandfathers. They dress differently for every season and assume a variety of personalities. Best of all, they can become our friends.

Barbara Reid has composed a compelling homage to trees. Not only does she explore the symbiotic relationship we have with them, but also their significance in our neighbourhoods. We witness the trees’ transformation through age as well as the changing months. Reid’s brief, creative text leads to even deeper meaning when partnered with her incomparable Plasticine illustrations. A not-sosecret world beckons us, if only we will take the time to observe. The phrase “A tree can be a high-rise home sweet home” is enriched upon examining how the activities of individuals living in an apartment mirror the similar behaviour of the wildlife being sheltered by a tall tree adjacent to the building. People and trees can look after each other. Here, a young child is watering a sapling, and there, a mature tree is providing shade to passersby on a hot summer’s day.

Reid’s illustrations take us on a tree’s cyclical journey through the seasons: the gnarled, bare branches of winter, the tentative tinge of leafy green followed by the explosion of colour in the spring, the full blown lushness of summer, the rusty hues of autumn, to the starkness of winter once more, with the beginnings of new growth ever on the horizon. One never tires of examining this artist’s work. It’s as if we are viewing familiar landscapes for the first time. Reid makes the known seem almost startlingly new with her gift for observation, detail and humour. Photographer Ian Crysler skilfully highlights the intricacies and joy of her work.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2011. Volume 34 No. 4.

Picture a Tree

What do you see when you look at a tree? Look closely and you may be surprised! Trees can shelter us from the sun, give us a place to play or read and provide homes for many little creatures. Trees come in all shapes and sizes and change from season to season. Barbara Reid’s Plasticine magic and lyrical text capture trees in all their splendour. This title is also available in French as Imagine un arbre.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

Other titles by Barbara Reid

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