Project Description

My Mother Talks to Trees
Teacher’s Guide

My Mother Talks to Trees

by Doris Gove
illustrated by Marilynn H. Mallory

A lesson in trees is adeptly woven into this charming story featuring a special mother-daughter relationship.

Laura is walking home from school with her mother. Much to Laura’s dismay, her mom insists on stopping at trees along the way and speaking to them as if they were her friends. First Laura hopes no one will notice. Then she stands close to the trees, hoping passersby will think her mother is talking to her.

As her mother greets each tree, mentioning its unique features, Laura grudgingly begins to take note, and slowly her curiosity overcomes her embarrassment. By the time they’re almost home, Laura has made the acquaintance of many special trees in her neighborhood and has come to recognize each one’s distinctive features. In the end, she has been infected by her mother’s contagious enthusiasm for nature and she begins to develop her own relationship to the natural world.

Doris Gove’s charming tale will inspire budding young naturalists to get to know the trees in their own neighborhoods. General, easy-to-remember information in the story teaches children how to identify eleven common trees, including the dogwood, tulip poplar, maple and pine. A glossary at the back of the book provides more details. Marilynn Mallory’s full-color illustrations not only capture the delight of the story, but also masterfully depict the botanical features of the trees.

Hardcover: $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-166-1
Total Pages: 32
Size: 8 1/2 x 10
Language: English
Paperback: $7.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-336-8
Total Pages: 32
Size: 8 1/2 x 10
Language: English
Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 64095
AR Reading Level: 3.5
AR Points: 0.5

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: M
F&P Grade: 2

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 2.8
Reading Counts Points: 2


“The colorful, softly shaded drawings are particularly graceful in their depiction of trees…teachers will like the information-laden text in picture-book format…. Many teachers will want this for their primary-grade tree units.” ―Booklist

“The text by Doris Gove is educational, yet not preachy, and the vivid illustrations by Marilynn Mallory continue the learning.” ―Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Gove does a fine job of weaving botanical facts into the light plot of an afternoon walk. The colored-pencil illustrations are pleasing and the pen-and-ink sketches in the glossary give more precise identification data…. [This book] will encourage children to notice and protect the trees around them.” ―School Library Journal

“What a wonderful way to incorporate learning into an everyday activity such as walking home from school. This book jumps off the pages and into real life, and is likely to help our future naturalists learn to recognize different tree species and identify the trees in their own backyards…. Through colorful and accurate illustrations and easy-to-understand descriptions, children will learn and remember information about tree identification…. It’s a joy to watch students read this book and then see what they do when they walk by a tree on the playground. This is interactive learning at its best. Recommended.” ―Library Talk


Volunteer State Book Awards (master list, K-3) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2003-2004

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Meet the Author

Doris Gove is the author of several children’s books, including My Mother Talks to Trees, One Rainy Night, Red-Spotted Newt, and A Water Snake’s Year. She earned an MS and PhD from the University of Tennessee and teaches environmental studies to elementary school children. She lives in Tennessee.

Meet the Illustrator

Marilynn H. Mallory has illustrated articles and field guides and conducted workshops in naturalist painting for elementary school children and teachers. She holds degrees from Tulane University and Florida Atlantic University. She lives in Georgia. You can visit her website here.