Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Sad Tree and Pronuba

The Sad Tree and Pronuba
Christina Steiner
Mary Manning-Illustrator
Outskirts Press
Parker, Colorado
ISBN: 978-1-4327-9893-2
October 2013
$ 14.95
32 pages

For anyone who has ever felt alone, a friend is always appreciated and valued.  For a single tree in the desert life can be lonely with only the moon, wind, sand, stones and rocks for companionship. 
Deserts are the natural habitat for lone Joshua trees that live throughout America's Southwest.  These trees seem to be isolated and unlike other trees, are not part of a forest.  
Unique to this tree is their cooperative relationship with the Pronuba moth.  Both the tree and the moths rely on each other for their species to propagate. The Pronuba moth needs a place for her eggs to incubate and the Joshua tree protects these from the wind and the blowing sand.   As the eggs hatch and continue through the stages of their life-cycle, this co-dependency is important for their lives.  The moth leaves her eggs within the shelter of the tree while also collecting pollen to transport to other locations for other Joshua trees to grow.  As the eggs hatch, the grubs feed on the seeds and their life-cycle continues while the seeds of the tree are spread in the area.
This concept can be difficult to understand for children.   It is not immediate and happens over time.  "The Sad Tree and Pronuba" is a story accompanied by  illustrations which explains this life-cycle concept using a tree named Joshua and the moth, Pronuba.  The story simplifies the science procedure seen as a special friendship.  This story has wonderful illustrations which perfectly match the words of the story.
Christina Steiner, the author, resides in Southern California who was inspired to write this story after a visit to the Mojave Desert.   Mary Manning, the illustrator, is a well-respected artist who specializes with landscapes featuring America's Southwest.   These two storytellers both in words and pictures perfectly matched the story. 
 "The Sad Tree and Pronuba" is a wonderful story telling the tale of friendship surrounding the scientific concept of pollination whose target audience is for children aged 5 to 12.   This difficult concept is beautifully written and illustrated in this story of the Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth.   Reading "The Sad Tree and Pronuba" is educational and a wonderful story that both parents and children will enjoy to read and reread.

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