We’re celebrating the release of The Forest in the Treesby Connie McLennan. This book takes readers high into the canopy of the world’s tallest trees, a forest where very few human eyes have spied the lush greenery and animal inhabitants that call the coast redwoods home.
Connie was inspired by botanist’s research. The scientists
were able to climb the trees and explore the landscape to identify many different
plants that thrive high amongst the clouds. Learning more about the discoveries
is easy. In The Forest in the Trees, readers find a new plant or animal
with the turn of a page!
Test your own skills at identifying trees and plants with our
observation and identification guide:
About the Forest
A forest is an ecosystem. This ecosystem requires just the
right soil for trees to secure their roots and grow tall trunks for the leaves
that soak up the sunlight.
The plants and animals in this ecosystem need the trees,
just as the trees need them to thrive. One ecosystem is found on the ground
where we can walk around and marvel at the amazing size of the trees. The other
is high in the sky, and only a select few botanists have laid eyes on this
So, what do botanists look for in this ecosystem? Take this observation guide on your next walk
through the forest and see if you can identify the trees and plants you find.
We’re giving away three copies of our new fall releases! Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Forest in the Treesand Animal Skins. Winners will be contacted on September 30th!
At a trade show a librarian once said to us “Definitely judge a book by its cover, there is a lot of time and energy put into that cover.” Today, The Lizard Lady illustrator Veronica V. Jones shares her process of creating the cover for this true story.
One of the more exciting (and sometimes nerve-wracking) parts of my job as a children’s book illustrator can be coming up with the book cover. That’s because there’s a lot that a book cover has to do if it’s doing a good job. In a world where there’s so much competing for a customer’s attention, book covers not only have to be pretty, but they have to grab someone’s attention, just long enough that they pick up the book. Book covers have to hint at the story inside, communicating that it’s worth a reader’s time and attention. Practically, they also have to convey information about the book like the title and author, even when shrunk down to the size of a thumbnail. That’s a lot of pressure!
By the time I begin to work on a book cover, I’ve already worked on the character designs and the rough sketches for the story, so I’m pretty familiar with how the characters look. The story in The Lizard Lady is based on real life researcher Nicole Angeli and her work with the critically endangered St. Croix ground lizard, so I wanted to make sure the cover focused on the relationship between Nicole and a lizard. Luckily, I had a lot of good photo references Nicole had sent in!
A lot of the pictures showed Nicole holding a little lizard in her hand so that seemed like a great start for the cover. I started sketching using the photos as a guide and soon came up with an idea. I would use foreshortening, a drawing technique that allows you to create the illusion of an object receding strongly into the distance, so as to focus on the lizard in detail in the Lizard Lady’s hands. In the cover of the Lizard Lady, the hands with the lizard appear to be very much closer because they are so much larger, and the arms are shortened.
Once I had a good sketch, I had to plan out where the title and author credit text would go on the cover. The title text needs to be legible even when the cover is small like in an online store. I also had to come up with background elements that would help frame the title. Luckily, St. Croix has a wonderful variety of foliage to draw from!
Painting the cover was the next step. I wanted the colors to suggest the bright sunlight on the verdant island of St. Croix, so I focused on bright greens for the plants and shading the Lizard lady with reds and oranges. Yellow seemed like a great choice for the title text as it’s both sunny and matched Lizard Lady’s hair. After turning in the artwork for feedback, editor Donna German suggested we flip the composition, keeping the reader’s eye movement going from left to right and encouraging people to open the book. This turned out to be the perfect finishing touch!