The Tree front-cover
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The Tree (Book)


Written by Dana Lyons & illustrated by David Danioth. Forwards by Pete Seeger and Julia Butterfly Hill. “The Tree should be on every child’s bookshelf. The illustrations are hauntingly beautiful. The message is powerful: we must take peaceful action to save what we love.” — Dr. Jane Goodall.

For eight hundred years I have lived here,
through the wind, the fire and the snow.

This powerful song of an ancient Douglas fir celebrates the age-old cycle of life in the Pacific Rain Forest, revealing the interconnectedness of all things.

From the gentle whisper of owl’s wings to the haunting echo of a lone wolf’s cry, each scene resonates with the beauty and sacredness of nature.

When bulldozers invade the forest, the tree senses its impending destruction and asks,

Who will house the owl?
And who will hold that river shore?
And who will take refuge in my shadow,
when my shadow falls no more?

This stunningly illustrated book sounds an urgent call to preserve our fragile environment, reminding each of us that the hope for a brighter future lies in our own hands.


“Deftly written by Dana Lyons, The Tree is beautifully illustrated by David Danioth and is enthusiastically recommended as an engaging, impressive, full color picturebook for beginning readers. This is a truly memorable story about the joy a tree feels giving life, shade, sustenance, and comfort. Yet the threat of human expansion and destruction could destroy the tree, unless humans band together to save it. A brief postscript with facts about the Pacific rainforest rounds out this charming, ecology-minded picturebook tale.” – Midwest Book Review

“The Tree absolutely captivates the reader, whether he/she be an adult or youth. I have been using it in classrooms, and the kids find it fascinating to pour over the illustrations while at the same time absorbing the message. This is definitely a perfect tool for anyone interested in environmental education but is also great entertainment. I will definitely pass this book on to my children, grandchildren and so on.” – Stephen Ham

“Who would have thought it possible for mere mortals to experience the world through the eyes of an old growth tree in an ancient forest? In part, singer-songwriter Lyons achieves this difficult feat as the result of having sojourned for some time beneath a Douglas fir in the Pacific Northwest.

Although insisting that the tree itself is the true author of this book (which started out as a song), Lyons clearly had a hand in shaping this poignant poem. In perfect step with the author, Danioth’s visual interpretations of the lines embrace many aspects of life in and near a forest, and include a variety of animals, further engaging young and old in pondering the importance of the forest to the life of all beings.

Using gouache, airbrush, and colored pencil, the illustrator elicits intense reactions to the thoughts of the tree. The words I have felt the claws of the grizzly accompany a fierce open-mouthed bear as it might be seen from the vantage of someone high in the tree looking down. I have seen great glaciers melting, and I’ve met lightning eye to eye shows a raven in the foreground, the tree transformed to layers of feathery mauves in the craggy light of a raging storm. On hearing bulldozers, the tree asks Am I soon to die? and against a crimson horizon and a disappearing forest, we see animals leaping in terror.

A few pages later, the trees are stumps, the earth parched, and the tree asks who will take refuge in my shadow, if my shadow falls no more? From this most dire prospect, author and illustrator lead us to a place of hope: The future of the earth is in the hands of our children. Despite its compelling message, Lyons is never preachy; instead, he grabs the reader in that place of love and compassion for all living things, fostering the understanding that consciousness is all-pervasive and that all of nature deserves our respect.” – NAPRA Review