A Grand Old Tree
Mary Newell DePalma
Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic 2005
ISBN 0-439-62334-0
A Grand Old Tree describes the life cycle of a tree in story form. Rather than introduce the tree as a series
of discrete parts, (leaf, fruit, seeds), the narrative’s simple, descriptive sentences present the tree as an
ever changing living organism. This general overview offers many jumping off points for discussion in the classroom.
Pre-reading activities
Take a nature walk:
Think about trees:
Social Studies
The tree evolves and changes during the story


The characteristics of living things are that they:

Do you think a tree is a living thing? Find evidence of these characteristics in the text. Thanks to teacher Kari Snyder for thinking of this--she warns that 'eating' is tricky, but her first graders figured out that the sun is an energy source for trees, and that is pretty darn sharp!

Many reference books are available on trees. Use them to:

Discuss weather and seasons:
Think about and discuss physical changes associated with tree growth and aging:
Make a matching list of other organisms and their relationship to trees:
A Grand Old Tree is a circle story, it seems to end where it began.
Examine the illustrations:
Move like a tree in the wind: