Jack headed out to find the perfect tree, one that was just right to chop down for firewood. But he was having trouble finding that perfect tree. Jack finally sat down under a tree in the forest in despair. Then a woodpecker offered to help Jack find the perfect tree. She flew to a tree and after knocking on a branch all sorts of birds flew out of it. Then a squirrel said that he too could show Jack the perfect tree. Taking Jack into a great oak tree, the squirrel revealed his stash of nuts and berries for the winter. Next a spider showed Jack her favorite tree where a web hung filled with water drops. It was then that Jack was inspired by the rain to find another perfect tree that was just right to stay dry under.
Bonfield has written an ecology picture book that focuses not on how wrong it is to cut down trees, but instead how the definition of “perfect” means different things to different creatures. And how your appreciation of an object in a new way leads to changes in the way you see the world. I appreciate that the book does not lecture about the environment or appreciating nature. Instead the book focuses on the beauty of nature and how it can transform us if we pay attention.
Bonfield’s illustrations are amazing. Done in papercut images and collage, they form two and three dimensional structures and then are lit so that there are shadows that play against other parts of the illustration that glow. The result is a picture book landscape that feels immersive and tangible.
A clever look at the pursuit of perfection and the power of nature. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.