Children’s Book Week Review – Beauty

Link to Catalogue record for Beauty

Beauty by Sandra Kendell

This book was part of the Notable list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Eve Pownall Award for Information Books.

Beauty is a story that celebrates the importance of trees, community and the relationships that nurture us all. Cleverly blending fiction and non fiction Beauty explores the role the Beauty Leaf Tree plays in the wider community of animals, insects and plants.

This book is a celebration of the Beauty Leaf Tree (Calophyllum inophyllum) which I don’t think I’d ever heard of before but it’s mostly a great exploration of how trees play such a huge part of our ecosystem.

The book is a non-fiction book that reads like a story, making it the type of text we call a narrative non-fiction which is a great way to help children learn about different topics in a way that is familiar to them.

The book talks about: animals, bugs, and more that live in or around the tree, symbiotic relationships, microorganisms, photosynthesis, and the network of ecosystems in a way that is easy for smaller children to digest due to the way it has been excellently written but also through the use of pictures that help you understand what is being said.

In addition, it’s also about the relationships between neighbours and how small gestures can help people understand things from a different perspective than they have used before. Our main character, who has no name as the book is written in the first person with ‘I’ used, loves the Beauty tree and uses letters and the gift of eggs from chickens that live in the shade of Beauty to help their neighbour to understand how important Beauty is to her vegetable garden as well. Even if the seed pods are annoying and the roots travel out.

A really interesting fact I found out on the page at the back of the book is that after Cyclone Tracy tore through Darwin they discovered that no Beauty trees were blown over; making this tree cyclone resistant, as well as providing such an important part of the ecosystem.

This book is a great one to read before going out into the yard and investigating your own trees, or the ones at your favourite park.