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What Did The Tree See?

Authored by Charlotte Guillain
Illustrated by Sam Usher
Published by Welbeck Publishing

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What Did the Tree see?: I was first an acorn, so tiny and round, I fell from the branch and sank into the ground. Then as I grew up, I turned into a tree…over hundreds of years! So, what did I see? 

As the centuries pass by, the land changes: woods are cleared and a small village turns into a town; with trains and roads, life’s pace quickens. Through it all, one majestic oak tree bears witness. A heartfelt and lyrical ode to our changing world, what once was, and what may come next. 

There are currently a lot of books written about climate change, being eco-friendly and looking after the world around us. Sometimes, this can mean that the books feel a bit stale; the topic and story become very similar over time and don’t show us a new perspective. However, What Did The Tree See? is a fresh new take on sustainability and the changing world around us. Written in a lovely lyrical rhyme, this reads beautifully and will capture the interest of the reader or listener.

Written in first person, this is a historical story with a reflection on what it might mean for the future, told from the point of view of an oak tree. It shows the reader how trees age, as well as what has happened to the scenery around them. Each new double-page spread shows how man has affected the landscape, showing a period in history and the developments that have been made. When the tree first grows, we can see it surrounded by picturesque fields and forests. As we learn more about history, we see towns build-up, transport transforms and even see new pastimes being discovered.

Following the story, there is a timeline and also some activities that promote more thinking and discussion of the book and its topics, both geography and history which is a really valuable resource for a book to have.