Caroline Pignat's first picture book is an intriguing blend of carefully composed verbal images, knit together with extraordinary visuals by the award-winning François Thisdale. The poem is about the yearly cycle in the life of trees. But it's also an intriguing poetic concoction. The initial letters of each line in each stanza spell out a word that pertains to the theme.
For example, in the section on spring, the vertical letters spell out: SEED, GERMINATE, SHOOT, ROOTS, LEAVES, FLOWERS. The young reader will make that discovery as they read the text and look at the detailed illustrations that show a rural landscape with trees, a farmer, barns, animals, and the changing of the seasons.
is a two-time winner of the Governor General's award and author of six novels, including Egghead, Greener Grass, and Shooter.
is an award-winning illustrator. His style combines traditional drawing and painting with digital images. He is the illustrator of That Squeak and Spirit Trackers.
"A vivid celebration of the seasons through acrostic poetry. Rooting her exploration of time's passage in events taking place in the natural world, Pignat charts "amazing growth and wondrous deeds / now promised in these tiny seeds" planted both in the literal soil and readers' imaginations through her lyric acrostic poems and Thisdale's evocative pastoral illustrations. . . Throughout the work, Thisdale's sumptuously colored and detailed mixed-media double-page spreads deftly underscore Pignat's focus on the continuity of being, not only by depicting how a seed transforms from sapling to tree to bearer of fruit to kindling, but by subtly suggesting the stages of human life by following the silhouette of a boy in spring through adolescence in summer, to a man harvesting apples in fall before shuffling off into the distance in the snow. Pignat and Thisdale's joint effort yields a rewarding and engagingly layered introduction to the life cycle and poetic form."
— Kirkus Starred Review
"The collaborative work of author Caroline Pignat and illustrator Francois Thisdale, Poetree is an intriguing blend of carefully composed verbal images, knit together with extraordinary visuals. . . Young readers ages 8 to 10 will discover the secrets of the poems as they read the text and look at the illustrations that show a rural setting with trees, a farmer, barns, animals and the changing of the seasons. There are even puzzles for the discerning young reader, making Poetree an immediate and enduringly popular addition for family, elementary school, and community library Contemporary Children's Poetry collections."
— The Midwest Book Review
"Pignat uses poetry in a simple but highly effective way to showcase the natural beauty of the seasons. . . The poems are easy to understand, making them accessible to a wide range of readers. For younger audiences, this book offers a lovely look into the changing seasons while, for older audiences or those more interested in the poetic flow of the words, the sparse text is brimming with imagery that depicts the miraculous yet ordinary beauty of the natural world we often overlook.
François Thisdale's illustrations add another layer of depth and splendor to this collection of seasonal poems. . . A marvelous example of how well the illustrations work with the text to create an enchanting view of the natural world outside our doors.
A wonderful collection for the classroom and for home, Poetree is a well-crafted and immensely charming series of poems that showcase the quiet wonder and everyday beauty of the always changing seasons.
— CM Magazine
"Pignat sprinkles the text with the likes of 'bunting' and 'radicle' to intrigue and challenge. In combination with rich illustrations that amplify the text, Poetree is a pleasing encounter with this literary form.
— Quill & Quire
"When Caroline Pignat and François Thisdale, powerhouses in word and art, come together, you know that the result will be powerful and extraordinary and Poetree is. . . I hope Caroline Pignat and François Thisdale will forgive my tardiness in reviewing their elegant book of verse and artistry but I think that Poetree shouldn't be lost in summer reviews when teachers are not necessarily purchasing books for classroom and school libraries. Poetree needs to be in all libraries for lessons on the seasons and acrostic poetry and life cycles in nature and for evoking the beauty of our enduring and fragile environment. . . A masterful exploration of arboreal life from beginning to end and to new again through the four seasons, Poetree sustains the reader with verse and art as dramatically as the earth does our natural world."
— CanLit for LittleCanadians
"In Caroline Pignat's remarkable acrostic poems, readers glean fresh insight into the wondrous life of trees as they germinate, thrive, prosper, and even propagate their own legacy. Divided by season, the poems also metaphorically follow the stages of human life from Spring's youth to Winter's old age. Pignat offers six poems for each season, which is introduced by a rhyming couplet.
Exquisite, evocative images — leaves described as "Emerald flags" and "Vibrant bunting" and apples as "plump parcels," — entice readers to look anew at trees, with their singular seeds, intricate foliage, and long-held histories. . . François Thisdale recreates the richly textured world of a farm in his double-spread, mixed-media masterpieces. In addition to interpreting the poems, each page gives readers much to see and talk about as life goes on above and underground."
— Celebrate Picture Books blog
"Poetree is a lovely read aloud book for young children from kindergarten to grade 3, but students of any age might appreciate it. The words and pictures are so expressive and inviting that they may well lead to many more questions to explore."
— Green Teacher magazine