Sunday, December 12, 2021

Trees and Blather

Debbink, Andrea. Trees (Field Guides for Kids)
December 15th 2020 by Abdo Publishing 
Library Copy

This is a very lovely, well formatted beginners guide to trees. The photographs are clear and colorful, and the text an easy to read sans serif font.Each tree is given a page with a brief description, a fun fact, and a "How to spot" run down. Broken down in to confiers, Cycads, Gingophyte and Gnetophyte and Angiosperms, there is information about 100 trees. There's a table of contents and a glossary, as well as a very brief bibliography. 

It's just not the book I wanted. It would have been nice to have an index, better pictures of individual leaves, and more organization. 

When I was a freshman in high school, my biology teacher, Mr. George Bryan, assigned us a leaf project. We had to collect a certain number of leaves (I believe that 100 was an A, etc.), mount them on paper, label them, and turn the project in by early October. For whatever reason, this captured my imagination immediately. I had my mother drive me to the Walden Books in the mall, where I used my babysitting money to buy two leaf identification book. I not only searched the neighborhood but forced my best friend deep into the woods and tried to get her to chew on twigs to see if they were sassafrass. My parents liked to go on fall picnics, so armed with my Aunt Ruthanna's thirty year old leaf project from college, we drove to Slippery Rock, PA to see if we could find different trees than we had in North Eastern Ohio. I had just over 100 leaves, and Mr. Bryan was so impressed that he asked if I would like to display my project in the science wing showcase. Man. This was the best project ever. 

The leaf books I had broke leaves down into different types, so it was easier to identify a tree by the process of elimination. There was also more organization according to where the trees were more commonly found. Sadly, forty years on, the pages all fell out of both books, and I got rid of them. I still am rather fascinated by trees, but I suppose now there is an app where you can take a picture of a leaf and the internet will tell you everything you need to know. Sic transit gloria mundi. 

On the bright side, I can find out what every tree in my town (on public property) is on this fun map!


  1. I had a similar assignment involving autumn wildflowers (AKA weeds) for high school biology, probably a few years earlier than your assignment but in the same general area where you live now (high school was in Springfield). We had to press the specimens we found and mount them in a notebook with a description.

    The last time I remember seeing the notebook, many of the plants were still intact but the Scotch tape I used to front them with Saran Wrap was showing its age. Working on that assignment was one of my favorite high school memories.

  2. It's just like the Betsy-Tacy leaf project! I think it was Betsy-Tacy? I would have loved this, too.