Cover Image: Before We Stood Tall

Before We Stood Tall

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Member Reviews

Before We Stood Tall is a sweet picture book about the less flashy part of a tree's life.  The parts where the seed is in the ground patiently waiting to burst forth onto the surface.  Children will love the artwork and parents will love the science.  It is lovely to see a book for young children that brings it down to the roots and microbes.  The only thing I would have liked a bit more is if the prose were more lyric.  Children really like that particularly with an unfamiliar subject matter.

Overall, this lovely picture book will be a nice addition to anyone doing a unit study with their children about trees, dirt, seeds, and all the bits around.

Thank you @Netgalley  @kidscanpress  @KidsCanBooks for early access to this ARC in return for an unbiased and voluntary review
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Very gentle illustrations with a natural color palette for a story that introduces young scientists to the origins of trees.
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This is a. sweet little book about the life cycle of a tree, in reverse. Although the reverse style of this story might be tricky for younger audiences to fully grasp, I think that they would still gain knowledge about trees and plants when looking at the pictures and hearing the vocabulary words.
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I read Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree by Jessica Kulekjian on NetGalley.com. The illustrations were lovely but it was a bit challenging to follow along in each phase of the tree's lifecycle, as part of the tree were hard to spot on the page, so readers were unsure what was exactly being described.
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The illustrations here are just awesome!  Simple but really impactful! I love how gentle the language is.  I'd love to see this as a series ("Before We...).  Loved this!
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I was very excited when I came across Before We Stood Tall From Small Seed to Mighty Tree, as my children’s home preschool curriculum this month is plants - and we are currently growing a maple tree from a seed. 

They both loved the book. Using simple and short lyrical prose Kulekjian takes us through the lifestyle of a tree. It was easy for both my 4 and 2.5 year old to understand. The author included additional information at the end, which was a great way for me to expand on what we learned while reading the story, but not jamming all the information in at once… An way to feed their expanding minds without them getting too distracted by short attention spans.

The lush illustrations were captivating, just like nature around us, there was life hidden throughout. My oldest thumbed through the pictures several times after reading the book looking for things he may have missed the first few times.

If you have little nature lovers in your life, I highly recommend adding this one to their library.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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This book is an extraordinary and beautiful story of the life cycle of a tree. The writing is sparse, yet lyrical, and the illustrations are full of life and wonder. It's such a clever storytelling technique to explain the process in reverse. 
Not only are children going to learn a lot from this book, they're going to have a great time looking at the illustrations -- there's so much to see in them! Also, there's some excellent back matter for additional information. This book is a great addition for any classroom, library, or nature education center.
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Before We Stood Tall tells the tree life cycle in reverse: mature tree, young tree, sapling, sprout, and seed. It talks about how trees are important and provide food, shelter, and homes for many. It also gives some other small facts about trees. At the back of the book is additional information to share with children about forest layers and fungi. Overall, I liked the book and would share this with students when we learn about life cycles, trees, plants, etc. The illustrations are nice and there are many things that can be discussed while looking at the pictures that are not explicitly said in the text (such as insects live in trees) and it’s nice to discover all of the hidden details in the picture. I do wish that it would have been a bit more detailed.
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A lesson in the growth of trees... in retrospect. With a reverence for trees and illustrations that lean on the side of whimsy, this book celebrates trees for what they do for us and what they mean for the environment.
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I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. This was a great book for kids helping illustrate how a tree starts really small and grows to be large.
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I absolutely loved the illustrations in this book. This was a very good non fiction book for kids! It helps teach them tree cycles, but in simple words. There was also some great facts!
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A stunning lyrical nonfiction exploration of the life cycle of trees. Comforting language and cozy imagery make this the perfect book for little ones.
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From a seed to a sapling to a thriving plant in the forest, Before We Stood Tall explores the way in which the cycles of nature plays out, connecting so many different living things. Thank you to Kids Can Press for the e-galley of Before We Stood Tall.

I love picture books about nature and science - especially after having had to teach Grade 3 where we have focused on an entire unit of plants. Picture books have an amazing way of being able to connect such big ideas through its visuals and engaging format. Before We Stood Tall is no exception. The illustrations and text provided a poetic and beautiful way for readers to better understand the nature they can see around them. The poetic prose and style of the information will allow readers to think deeply about the imagery it evokes, with the help of the vibrant illustrations. This is sure to be a valuable resource for teachers and young readers alike.
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Fresh and lyrical approach to explaining the lifecycle of trees. I especially like how the reader travels underground to experience connections beneath the forest floor. Illustrations compliment the text and help connect the narrative thread. Back matter provides additional depth to the main text and encourages further discussion. This book will be loved at home and in the classroom.
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I love how this book starts from the perspective of a tree--with the art showing a tall tree's view down to the curious kids below, combined with the language bringing us in to their world. The lyrical language gives the sense of a loving storyteller on a cozy day. Given the concise, lyrical language of the main text, I appreciate the additional information in the back matter, which is clear, interesting, and easy to digest, and would also work well for reading aloud. 
The illustrations in this book are truly beautiful; they add additional clarity to the story, and have fun details for kids to discover. 
There are many picture books about trees, but this one adds something new.
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Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree, written by Jessica Kulekjian and illustrated by Madeline Kloepper, has an interesting idea at its core—tell the story of trees in reverse order—and some lyrical language and engaging artwork. But honestly, I found myself more often confused by the voice and structure and wondered if in an attempt (a worthy one) to do something new the story was over-complicated.

The subtitle presents itself as seed to tree, but we open with the voice as an already mature tree and moving backward in time (“Before we were mighty in the kingdom of the trees”), so it seems to be more tree to seed. Which seems trivial, but with a young audience one really needs to clearly set and meet expectations. I also found the progression muddy.  One line reads “Before our branches sheltered many/We remembered the seasons by tracing the years”, but I’m not clear on how this is sequential.  Do they not trace the years still even as their branches shelter who/whatever stands beneath them?  Similarly, the voice says “Before we stood tall, we clothed ourselves in bark . . . “, but again, I’m confused as to why this is presented as a chronological ordering—they’re still clothed in bark and they’ve been clothed in bark for many, many years, so this isn’t clear (at least to me). It’s somewhat better when it moves below ground, but even here it can be confusing, as when they say, “before we saw the world above/our seeds settled down into the earth”, which takes some thinking about because while they mean “our seeds” as in the seeds we grew from, “our seeds” in the voice of mature trees can also refer to the seeds they send out every year.  Again, it seems unnecessarily complicated and thus cloudy.  It is in this section that the idea of a “family” of trees arise, a concept that is relatively recent (the wood-wide web), and this seems both the most timely and the most original bit of the story, and so I think it might have been stronger had it kept to a more traditional chronological structure and focused on this highly intriguing concept. As it is, while there is a lovely sense of quiet and dignified rhythm to the text and the illustrations are well executed, making use of earthy colors and giving a lot for the eye to drink in without feeling cluttered, the book feels like a missed opportunity. 2.5
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A discovery and of wonder. A picture book that takes a seed and how it grows. In a poetic form, your children will delight in how creative our world is. It is more about the seed and what it must go thru to be a beautiful tree.

A special thank you to Kids Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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As a forest school teacher, I am always looking for new, great tree books and this one certainly filled a gap. Helping children see that even the mightiest tree started somewhere small will help them see the value they hold. I loved reading all the "befores" in the book. Beautiful illustrations, simple phrasing, easy to read and wonderful to share.
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I got this on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

I really loved this non-fiction picture book, and it deals with the lifecycle of trees in a wonderfully simple yet complex way! I'm glad the author didn't simplify it, but instead made it understandable for the target audience by having more focus on the pictures than the text. I also loved that it goes backward, and I have never seen a book that does it this way! Will definitely use this in my own future Natural Science classroom!
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A beautiful picture book about Trees. I really love being in nature and knew I would love this book. The Illustrations are bright and colorful and the story is lyrical. It was a wonderful read for kids of all ages. I highly recommend it. Thanks to #netgalley for the advanced reader copy. I loved it.
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