If Trees Could Talk: Stories about Wisconsin Trees

By R. Bruce Allison

Paperback: $15.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-419-7

80 pages, 80 b/w photos and illus., 8 x 9"


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If trees could talk, what stories would they tell? Author and arborist R. Bruce Allison tackles this question in an engaging, accessible format in this children's companion to his 2005 adult title, "Every Root an Anchor."

Inside the pages of "If Trees Could Talk," Allison gives readers aged 7 to 12 fascinating stories that introduce them to noteworthy trees, both past and present, across Wisconsin. From Kenosha's buried forest on the shores of Lake Michigan to the Wyalusing maple that saw the last of the passenger pigeons; from Aldo Leopold's "good oak" to the disappeared elms of State Street in Madison, these stories open up a fascinating ecological and social history of Wisconsin to young readers. Other stories showcase the state's history: readers will encounter Chief Black Hawk hiding in a hickory, Civil War soldiers enlisting for battle under "sign-up" trees, and trees used to hang criminals without a trial. They will also learn of large and unusual trees like the Columbus Cottonwood, which was over 26 feet around or, in the words of the author, so large that "it would take you and eight of your friends with your arms outstretched to reach all the way around it!"

Told in a compelling narrative style and supplemented with historic photographs and illustrations, these stories instill a sense of place and understanding of the rich heritage of our trees and forests. The book also carries an environmental message encouraging children to appreciate and manage natural resources wisely and respectfully. The highly accessible format includes a map of historic trees locations, a glossary of tree terms, a tree identification chart, and a list of suggested books and websites for further reading.

To receive a review copy or press release, to schedule an author event, or for more information contact the WHS Press Marketing Department: whspress@wisconsinhistory.org.

R. Bruce Allison is an arborist in Madison, Wisconsin. He holds a masters of science in forestry and a PhD in land resources from the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served as the president of the Wisconsin Arborist Association and as chairman of the Dane County Tree Board and Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council. Allison is the author of several books and articles about trees, the most recent being a revision of "Wisconsin's Champion Trees: A Tree Hunter's Guide" and "Every Root an Anchor: Wisconsin's Famous and Historic Trees." This is his first book for children.

2009 ForeWordReviews' Book of the Year Award
Finalist in the Juvenile Nonfiction Category

2009 Midwest Independent Publishers Association Midwest Book Awards
Winner in the Child/Young Adult Nonfiction Category

2009 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards
Bronze Medalist in the Environmental Issues Category

2010 USA National Best Book Awards
Finalist in Children's Non-Fiction Category

Author Interviews
Stephanie Lecci of Milwaukee Public Radio's "Lake Effect" interviewed author R. Bruce Allison on Friday, July 24, 2009.

Larry Meiller interviewed author R. Bruce Allison on Friday, April 24, 2009 at 11:00am on Wisconsin Public Radio's Ideas Network.

"Trees are living things, and some trees are far older than many humans could ever dream of being. 'If Trees Could Talk' tells the story of these elders of nature, in particular several that have made their own impact on the world and society. Trees that gain second chances, iconic city trees, trees that mark history, and more, all are discussed within. For any nature or arboreal lover, 'If Trees Could Talk' is a fine piece of nature reading for young adults and adults alike." James A. Cox, editor-in-chief, and Diane C. Donovan, editor, "The Midwest Book Review"