Todd StewartOwlkids, 2021

A windswept pine gets me every time.

Every time.

Summers when I’m lucky enough to paddle in Northern Ontario I take countless photos of them–their branches permanently bending to one side from decades of shaping.

The Wind and the Trees features two pines, one young, one old, growing beside each other over the years. The elder shares information with the younger tree about the wind: the way it strengthens it, shapes it, perpetuates its species and carries its messages to other trees. The younger tree listens, asks questions and slowly grows with each page turn.

Between being wowed by the vividly different skies on each spread and delighting in the black ink animals, it’s possible to miss the aging and changing of the older tree, which eventually meets its maker after a windstorm.

The second in a the serious of wordless spreads is one of the most poignant page turns that I’ve felt in some time. When I shared this picture book with my teenage daughter, I watched her face during this page turn. She felt it too!

The ending is full of life and promise, leaving the reader with a sense of wonder over trees themselves, but more so how this deceptively simple picture book by a fellow Canadian can pack such an emotional punch.