Unfortunately, there aren't many picture books for everyday learning that include Christian thought. For example, how many picture books have you seen that give basic science information while pointing out that God is the great designer? Well, God's Oak Tree does.
The first thing that struck me about this volume is its novel format. The cover features a die-cut hole, through which you can see a smiling acorn. Open up the book, and you'll find the pages are of different shapes, starting narrow and growing wider. Each time you turn a page, the image of an acorn hanging from a tree shifts, and on the opposite side the image of a fully grown oak tree gradually appears. Each page is beautifully illustrated by Chi Chung, with rich nature colors, lots of wild animals, and plenty of detail.
The rhyming text by Allia Zobel Nolan begins:
"Once there was an acorn.
God tucked it in a tree
so that one windy autumn day,
a breeze could set it free."
From there, we follow the acorn as it rolls across the lush grass and pops open. Winter comes, and soon the acorn disappears beneath a snow drift, but God makes sure the plant lives. Spring comes and the seedling pushes its way up through the earth. God gives it leaves "to wear" as it reaches higher and higher toward the sky. In the summer, the leaves are green, and in the fall they are many colors, and soon the seedling is a big oak tree.
One night, lightening hits the tree and breaks off a branch, but God sends some owls to live in the resulting hole. Other birds build nests in the oak's branches. Soon acorns fill the tree. When one falls off near the oak, the shell pops open, and the cycle begins again. On the last page, we see a huge oak tree giving shade to some children and animals; nearby, a seedling grows. "Deer marveled at the sight./God's sun surrounded it with warmth./God bathed it in his light."
What I Like: Everything! This book is really gorgeous, and the varied-sized pages are really no gimmick; they add a great deal to the book. The text is well written and informative, and always the author provides sound science (appropriate for young children) while reminding us that God is in control of it.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8, but my 2 year old absoltuely adores this book.
Publishing Info: KidZone, 2007; ISBN: 0825455367; hard back, $12.99.
Buy Now at ChristianBook.com for $9.99
OR Buy Now at Amazon.com for $11.04