Cover image for Old Elm speaks : tree poems
Old Elm speaks : tree poems
George, Kristine O'Connell.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
A collection of short, simple poems which present images relating to trees in various circumstances and throughout the seasons.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.6 0.5 54910.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.4 2 Quiz: 25543 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.E488 O4 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3557.E488 O4 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3557.E488 O4 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3557.E488 O4 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3557.E488 O4 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This tree across the stream is a trickier bridge than it might seem... The author of The Great From Race and Other Poems has created a collection of short poems that celebrate trees and the amazing variety of ways they touch our lives. Deceptively simple verses reveal what trees think about and what they say to one another, as well as how they look and all the things they do for us. Humor and an unerring ear for the sounds of language make these poems an irresistible read-aloud; the luminous oil paintings evoke a country setting and the children who enjoy it through the year.

Author Notes

Born in New Hampshire and raised in Vermont, Kate Kiesler began painting at an early age. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and now paints and illustrates full-time. Kate paints with oils, and her rich style has been highly praised. Kate Kiesler has illustrated numerous picture books, including The Great Frog Race and Other Poems . She lives in Frisco, Colorado. Kristine O'Connell George is an acclaimed poet who conducts poetry workshops for children and teachers. She is the author of several books of poetry for young people, including Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems and The Great Frog Race, winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. She lives with her family in Southern California. Visit her online at and on Twitter at @Kristine_George.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-6. The original poems in this lovely, simple collection celebrate every aspect of trees in a variety of poetic forms including free verse, rhyme, and haiku. Using the voice of the trees themselves or of the people with whom they have contact, an appreciation for the majestic nature of these everyday things is conveyed throughout. The first poem has an old oak silently introducing itself to a boy, "I've been waiting / watching you / grow taller. / I have grown too. Step closer. / Let's see / how high / you can / climb." Other poems have a child planting a tree for arbor day, siblings playing hide-and-seek, a traffic jam of squirrels, a fallen tree now serving as a bridge, a delightful look at a beaver dam ("that architectural team / with another scheme / to redesign the stream"), a fly-fishing boy who snags a pine, and a willow who, while admiring her reflection, is interrupted by a heron. As with her Great Frog Race and Other Poems (1997), George conveys a deep understanding of nature, here particularly of trees, in a way that is readily accessible to children. Kiesler's warm oil paintings beautifully complement the poems, making for a totally satisfying experience that is sure to be a favorite of anyone who's ever stopped to notice trees. --Helen Rosenberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

George and Kiesler (The Great Frog Race and Other Poems) team up for another close look at the natural world with poetry that invites readers to meditate on trees. This time the visual delights described in George's poems slightly outshine the illustrations. The best of Kiesler's oil paintings are breathtaking: a trio of doves tucking their heads underwing in the starlight, browning pumpkin vines in the foreground of a pastoral scene, the moon snagged by a branch in the book's title poem. Often, however, the paintingsÄparticularly those of childrenÄseem to be frozen in time, lacking the energy and vitality of the images in the poetry. George plays nimbly with language and form. Her invented words in "Tree Traffic" seem simultaneously strange and familiar: squirrels are "commuters... rippling up and down,/ tails unfurled./ The treeway is/ heavily squirreled." George also surprises readers with creative rhyme schemes, such as that of "Cooperation," in which two horses, sharing the shade of one tree, stand "muzzle to rump/ rump to muzzle/ like a jigsaw puzzle." Especially elegant is George's description of a spring tree bud, "a tiny velveteen satchel,/ the color of pale cream" inside of which readers can find "one rolled and folded/ neatly packed/ leaf." Dedicated to "the saplings," this leaf-filled collection would make just the right gift for nature lovers. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Trees in all seasons and used for many reasons are imaginatively captured in short poems and richly textured full-color oil paintings. The delightful use of language plays on the senses as it creates word pictures that are sure to entertain. The selections beg to be read-aloud and shared. Free verse, haiku, and bits of rhymes and rhythms reflect the joy children feel as they play in and about or observe all types of trees throughout the year. A celebration of these mighty living things and the people who love them.-Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.