Cover Image: Before We Stood Tall

Before We Stood Tall

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Member Reviews

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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This book is a full  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The lyrical writing combined with warm toned illustrations that are reminiscent of books from yesteryears! 

The text is contemplative, as the reader  is guided through the cycle of ‘Tree life’ by rejuvenation and death, a tale as old as time we learn about tree communication, and the interconnection of the ecosystem. 

Hidden throughout the rich illustrations we see adorable images of woodland animals that make it also fun for an eye-spy game. 

This book is both perfect for a good cuddle up and read together, or to be used in primary curriculum when learning about nature. 

The life cycle of the tree from early seed to great mother Tree are dependent on the fungi and decay that occurs at the roots! 

I loved this book for so many reasons! I also like that helps adults remember the importance of our own connection to nature and how it plays a role in our own personal growth and health! 

Thank you to #NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this advanced copy for review.
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Jessica Kulekjian has written a beautiful book with a novel point of view. Not only is Before We Stood Tall written from the point of view of the trees, but it is also written in reverse. The trees tell the story from now back to when they were only seeds. The entire book is written in rhythmic verse, and Madeline Kloepper’s illustrations are soft like watercolor paintings. The pictures add to the feeling of the story being told from the trees’ points of view.

Geared for ages 3-7, this book will be released in September 2021.
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As an adult fascinated by trees, and a homeschooling mom with kids who like to play “nature explorers” when we go outside, this book is going to be a must have in our library. The book is written beautifully and has amazing illustrations throughout. I like how simple it is, because even a very young child could sit and listen to the whole book. However, there are a lot of deeper pieces of information that could be discussed by older children without really interrupting the flow of the story. The final few pages have some more dense information that could serve as a basis for future research or be used by an older child. From a homeschooling perspective, this means I could read this book to all of my kids regardless of age and know that each of them could gain information from it. It’s a special kind of book that can be so easily adapted to many age groups. I can’t wait to start recommending this one to my fellow homeschool parents!
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Before we stood tall is a lyrical children's non-fiction that uses the life cycle of trees as a metaphor. I was really surprised by the poetic and metaphorical elements of this children's book and thought it was a pleasant surprise since children's books are usually hyper and upbeat. The illustrations are stylized and really well done as well. Perfect for any young shelf. Please look out for this one ins September 2021. Thank you to netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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"Before our seeds took flight....
We dreamed in the branches, hoping to be
mighty in the kingdom of trees."

A lovely, nature-loving story on how trees and forests come to existence. The illustrations are refreshing and colorful. It was so easy to get lost inside the story and forget that I wasn't actually in a forest. The scientific parts are also super informative for young readers that can easily spark an interest for our ecosystems and flora.
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This book was wonderful - the story was beautiful and touching, The illustrations were outstanding. This is exactly the kind of book that draws my kids right in with the rich detailed illustrations. I also enjoyed the authors note at the end.
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A tree introduces us to its life cycle, but in reverse, taking us from now, when it's spreading seed to create more, right back to when it was a twinkle in its parent's eye.  It's alright, I guess, but I didn't exactly see the need to turn the simple, basic biology lesson into something Christopher Nolan would prefer.
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