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Zee's Tree COVER final for web Dec 2020.

Junior Library Guild 

Farmers' Bureau recommended

Bankstreet Best Book of 2022

Choose to Read Ohio 

"This title is a brilliant combination of storytelling and factual information.

The narrative celebrates a caring family and a young girl’s growing love of nature.

The information adds to readers’ understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Highly recommended."

School Library Journal, starred review

"Informative factual text about Douglas firs and their care accompanies each stage of Zee’s and her tree’s parallel growth while gentle, realistic illustrations, rendered in soft color washes, visually chronicle their emerging relationship. A delightful blend of fact and fiction." 


"Hillenbrand’s mixed-media illustrations employ a soft, classic picture book style, with dot-eyed human figures in a sweet, friendly palette. Aspiring botanists will welcome this detailed examination of Douglas-firs."

Publishers Weekly

Zee Grows a Tree

A fact-filled story about a little girl and

an evergreen tree that grow up side by side.

Perfect for anyone who loves the natural world—

       or wonders about the origins of their holiday tree.

On the morning little Zee Cooper is born, a Douglas-fir seedling emerges from the nursery bed at her family’s Christmas tree farm. As Zee and the tree grow up together, they experience many of the same milestones.


When Zee starts preschool, her tree is ready to start life outside the nursery. As Zee outgrows all her clothes, her tree grows taller, too. When Zee gets a whole new look for kindergarten, her tree gets a spiffy transformation as well. And as the years go on, Zee takes loving care of her tree, watering it through heat waves and protecting it from winter winds.


Combining interesting details about how trees are grown and cared for on a farm with the sweet story of a friendship between a girl and her special tree, Zee Grows a Tree offers a blend of fiction and nonfiction that will draw the interest of young nature lovers everywhere. In the back of the book, readers will find an index, bibliography, and an author’s note suggesting some ways to enjoy a holiday tree without cutting one down.


March 16, 2021

Hardcover : 32 pages

ISBN-10 : 0763697540

ISBN-13 : 978-0763697549

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