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Book Review of "Tree of Life"

A Book Review by Ariana Mann, 8th grade, Odyssey Middle School, Bainbridge Island, Washington

Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth
Written by Rochelle Strauss and illustrated by Margot Thompson
Kids Can Press, 2004

Everything containing some form of life belongs to the Tree of Life.

Whether these life forms have built cities, are too small for other species to see, or live in forests or water, they are all included and effect the tree of life. With every species representing one leaf, they each can change the world for the other 1,749,999 known species. Learning about these species and the life they represent is key to the stability of our world and our own lives.

The book, Tree of Life, outlines this perfectly for people of all ages, yet might be especially fitting for those about ten years of age. With its vivid illustrations by Margot Thompson, though, it draws in everyone. The words of Rochelle Strauss make it easy for those of a younger age to comprehend and remember what they're learning.

The book outlines the basics about the five kingdoms of life, with intriguing information about animals. Although it's not a book for specific research,it is a book that willcome to great use for many and it will inspire children to dig deeper into the subject through other sources.

Besides informing the readers about the nature and characteristics of many life forms, the Tree of Life gets us to become aware of the problems we are facing with the environment at this time.  This includes such shocking facts as three species are being lost an hour and two football fields worth of tropical rainforests are being destroyed by humans every second.

Humans have perhaps the greatest effect on this world and we need to remember that, “We are its guardians, not its gardeners.” It's not our job to cut and shape the tree of life to what we believe is to our liking, but rather to make sure that every part of the tree is supported and moving along the way it should be.

Whenever something is cut out of nature, it effects human, too. Both children and adults need to learn and be reminded of this. The Tree of Life will bring this awareness to the children of today—the adults of tomorrow.

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