Cottonwood trees grow throughout North America and play a critical role in their ecosystems, yet little has been written about them. In this “autobiography,” a cottonwood tree tells its life story beginning when it is only a seed in a bed of fluff, floating over a river somewhere in the American heartland, and ending more than 80 years later when it is toppled by a fierce storm. Along the way the seed grows into a majestic tree, spreading its life-giving branches to birds, insects, and animals.
The tree recounts its visits over the years by a special human who was born in the same year. As a boy, this human climbs the cottonwood’s branches to watch the river and dream. As a father, he brings his daughter to visit. As an old man he grieves to see the tree knocked down but rejoices when he sees new sprouts emerging from the stump. He knows the tree is not done yet! Captions throughout the book relate the natural histories of animals in and around the tree, and the backmatter offers further resources.