When a Tree Grows

Last week Cathy Ballou Mealey shared her process in “Start with the Heart!” Here’s more about WHEN A TREE GROWS for Perfect Picture Book Friday….

Book coverTitle: When A Tree Grows

Written by: Cathy Ballou Mealey

Illustrated by: Kasia Nowowiejska

Sterling 2019 fiction

Suitable for ages: 3-8

Themes/topics: cause/effect, friendship

When a tree grows in the forest, two things could happen.
It becomes a scratching post for Moose’s itchy antlers, and the tree sways gently side to side. OR…

When Moose sees the inviting tree where Squirrel has built his nest, he rubs his itchy antlers against the trunk—and sets in motion a chain of comic catastrophes. The tree falls and wakes Bear, who stumbles into Moose, who causes a truck driver to swerve off the road. But then Squirrel jumps onto that truck and ends up in the city, all alone. Who will help him get home? And how will Squirrel thank them?
This humorous picture book tells a sweet story of friendship, generosity, and how one fun thing leads to another.

Activities and Resources:

  • Discussion: Choose one of the pages with “When ____ happens, two things could happen.” Think of more consequences. Which one would make the best story?
  • Write a class story: Generate a list of things that might actually happen in the forest. Choose one to start your story, then use the book as a frame to create your own story with two possible consequences for each action. Continue the story as the author does by taking one consequence and considering the effects it might have. Can you make your story circle back to how you started?
  • Cause/Effect: Write story events on paper strips and make a cause and effect chain for the story.

Why I like this book:
I always enjoy seeing creative ways to structure a story. When a Tree Grows invites kids to consider consequences, see cause and effect relationships, and use their imaginations to create their own stories. This book has so many possibilities as a springboard for creative classroom activities involving critical thinking, writing, and even as nonfiction format for science related cause/effect relationships and writing about biomes and environment.


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.


5 thoughts on “When a Tree Grows

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.