The guide on this educational journey is a delightfully designed acorn who meets a variety of forest animals along the way. Some, like the squirrel, have ulterior motives for the acorn, and others, like a friendly beetle, just want to gnaw on and eat wood. The artwork in this book does so much. In some places it operates like the diagrams in a biology textbook, in others it offers helpful looks into the various layers and parts of trees. It also tells a fun story about an acorn as it travels across the forest and decides whether or not to begin the long process to become a tree. Just check out this excerpt to see how multi-purpose this book is.
It is clear that much research went into this book, both in terms of references and information. Like many other books in this series, it is intended for an upper elementary/middle school audience but offers much for older readers. It certainly features a lot of technical vocabulary, which is reinforced by the handy glossary in the end-papers. This book is the best kind of educational graphic novel, casting new light on its subject while maintaining a sense of humor and joy. I highly recommend this book and the entire Science Comics series.
This volume of Science Comics was created by Andy Hirsch, who has published other books in the series about dogs and cats. He also has a number of comic book series, including The Baker Street Peculiars, as well as a couple of other graphic novels under his belt, including his own Varmints. And on a personal note, Hirsch drew a caricature of me for The Comics Alternative podcast. I really dig his work.
All of the reviews I have read about this book have been glowing. In a starred review Sarah Hunter opined, "It’s hard not to see the wonder in this dense, pithy comic, and kids who are under the misapprehension that trees are boring will quickly learn otherwise." J. Caleb Mozzocco wrote, "There aren’t really any bad comics in this line of books, but Trees? It’s a particularly good one." Jody Kopple concurred in her starred review, calling it "another winner in the series."
Trees: Kings of the Forest was published by First Second, and they offer a preview and more here.