Review of Sometimes I Feel like an Oak

Sometimes I Feel like an Oak Sometimes I Feel like an Oak
by Danielle Daniel; illus. by Jackie Traverse
Primary    Groundwood    32 pp.
4/24    9781773066981    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781773066998    $16.99

Daniel’s (Sometimes I Feel like a Fox; Sometimes I Feel like a River) latest offering invites readers to commune with trees. Short first-person verses assign attributes to twelve different trees (“Sometimes I feel like a maple, / full and most generous… / Sometimes I feel like a birch, / smooth and fresh, anew”), following the cycle of the year from early spring to late winter. Traverse’s lush acrylic and gouache illustrations never depict a tree in its entirety, with the tops always breaking the edge of the page. This choice suggests that art cannot fully capture the trees’ majesty and encourages readers to imagine what lies beyond the confines of the page, reinforcing Daniel’s core concept that there is more to trees than meets the eye. Back matter offers thumbnail images of each tree, restating their names and highlighting the attributes Daniel’s verses assigned to them—generosity for the maple, optimism for the birch, and so on. A closing author’s note begins, “Like my Algonquin ancestors, I believe that trees are sentient beings with spirits who can feel things,” prompting readers to reflect on what they, in turn, feel as they consider this Indigenous perspective and how it inspired this book.

From the May/June 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert
Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert created the Whole Book Approach storytime model in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and is a former lecturer in children’s literature at Simmons University, where she also earned her MA. In addition to ongoing work as a children’s book author, reviewer, and consultant, Megan is president of Modern Memoirs, Inc., a private publishing company specializing in personal and family histories. 

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.