Skip to main content

Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest

Review

Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest

First of all, I am a huge fan of and advocate for graphic novels. And I love the Science Comics series; I believe that they fill an important gap in nonfiction for children and young adults. However, like any series that has different authors and illustrators, some of the books are better than others. For example, I disliked SCIENCE COMICS: VOLCANOES: Fire and Life, but I adored SCIENCE COMICS: BATS: Learning to Fly. Unfortunately, SCIENCE COMICS: TREES: Kings of the Forest by Hirsch falls in between dislike and adoration for me.

"Hirsch packs a huge amount of information between the covers. The information is extremely thorough and well-researched, but it becomes quite dense."

Hirsch deftly found the balance between the “story” and the presentation of information in TREES: Kings of the Forest. The main “character” is an adorable, somewhat hyperactive and not very bright Acorn. Although he is small, he is able to carry the story and I believe that some readers will be compelled to continue reading because of Acorn’s appeal. TREES: Kings of the Forest is filled with supporting characters, such as a frog, a leaf and a squirrel, that expose Acorn to different aspects of trees. These supporting characters are not as strongly consistent as Acorn, but as only a portion of the story is spent with each of them this is less important. 

Where I believe that TREES: Kings of the Forest falters is in the depth and amount of information that it presents. Hirsch packs a huge amount of information between the covers. The information is extremely thorough and well-researched, but it becomes quite dense. Yes, I realize that this is a nonfiction book and that its purpose is to present thorough and well-researched information, but I believe, in this case, that it missed the mark for the intended audience, which is 9-to-13-year-olds. I have a Ph.D., granted not in dendrology or forestry, and I became bogged down in the information and the text quite often, which left me feeling like I was slogging through the book. I certainly don’t want to imply that I think that the information should be “dumbed down” for the intended audience, but if it is inaccessible or unappealing to the audience that defeats the purpose as well. The visuals and other graphic novel elements certainly helped to convey the information as well, but these did little to mitigate the density of the textual information. 

I think that TREES: Kings of the Forest would be perfect for those with background knowledge in and/or a deep interest in trees. However, I think that it may be too much for other types of readers. 

Reviewed by Aimee Rogers on August 20, 2018

Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest
(Science Comics #11)
by Andy Hirsch