Tree of Wonder: The Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree

  • Author: Kate Messner
  • Illustrator: Simona Mulazzani
  • Year Published: 2015
  • ISBN: 978-1-4521-1248-0

Science Topics

Minimum Suggested Grade Level

Maximum Suggested Grade Level


This book is about the rainforest's abundant beauty and the wonderful multiplicity of life sustained by just one almendro tree. The use of math is also included to keep the reader engaged and continuously learning across several content areas.


  • Appropriateness: High
  • Authority: Medium
  • Accuracy: High
  • Liteary Artistry: High
  • Appearance: High


Does the book foster development of processes?

Yes, the book fosters the development of the processes of observation and prediction. At several points in the book, the teacher could ask students to explain what is happening in the picture or predict what the next page will include. A few examples include: What types of animals do you see on this page? Where are the animals? Which animal do you think the next page will talk about? How many animals will be on the next page?

Does the book provide an opportunity for children to ask and answer their own questions?

Yes, if the students asked questions about the illustrations before reading each page, they would be able to ask and answer their own questions.  For example, they can ask, "What is in the bird's mouth?" and then learn that toucans use their bills to pick fruit and toss it to one another like a game.

Does the book encourage children to think for themselves?

The encouragement is never explicit by asking the readers to predict or think, but by separating each animal onto a different page the student is given the chance to wonder what type of animal they will learn about next.  Additionally, the number patterns allow the children to think about which numbers will be in the following pages.

Is the science topic addressed in ways that are appropriate to the lesson?

The content is appropriate to the lesson.

Is the content based on sound scientific principles? Is it accurate?

Yes, the content is based on sound principles.  It shows the many different animals that live in the rainforest and interact with the almendro tree.  Each new animal is described in great detail about things such as their eating habits, how they travel, and the number of babies they give birth to at one time.  Additionally, the book shows how the almendro tree is important to the lives of each animal.

Does the book distinguish between fact and fiction?

The book is factual, so there is no need to distinguish.

Are the illustrations clear and accurate?

Yes, the illustrations are beautifully rendered through an acrylic and pencil on paper style.  The colors and shapes are overall very accurate.

Is the book written at the level of your students?

Yes, the book is an appropriate level for students in grades K-3.  Difficult vocabulary words, such as cargo, lair, and stockpile, are supported by helpful illustrations.

Is there a multicultural component? Is it free from stereotyping?

There is no multicultural component, but it is free from stereotyping because there are no people or cultures represented in the book.

Is the book free from gender bias?

Yes, the book is free from gender bias.  There are no female or male characters in the book.

Does the book show the close association between science and other disciplines?

Yes, the book makes connections between mathematics and science through the continuous use of numbers on each page.  On every new page, the number doubles and relates to the growing size of each animal population. Additionally, the back of the book provides several examples of math activities that could be done after reading the book in relation to the science content.

Does the book present a positive attitude toward science and technology?

Yes, the book maintains a positive attitude towards science, especially towards animals and their habitat. However, there is very little technology in the book.