Everybody Knows What a Tree Is
by Jason Gruhl and Genjō Mark Yorke, illustrated by Skye Ali
by Jason Gruhl
This is a book about wonder and about questioning what we think we know. By the time we become adults, we think we know quite a lot. Facts and theories all prop up our idea of the world and how it should work, but do we really know, or are we just trying to make ourselves feel secure?
In Everybody Knows What a Tree Is, children talk their way through what they think they know — the uses for trees, the fun to be had, and the amazing scientific facts about them. But in contrast, the animals have a different language and experience for talking about trees.
Over time, the children begin to question their knowledge and they look to their senses. But when this, too, breaks down, they are ultimately led to wonder what the experience of a tree is for itself, a truly magical question.
Knowledge is important for many reasons: for understanding and solving problems, for building new concepts and creations, and for describing how our world works.
But wonder allows us to interact with the world as it actually is — before the labels, definitions, and rules get laid on top. Ultimately, the book asks us to be comfortable with NOT knowing. It invites us to remember that life is ultimately a mystery and that not having an answer is an answer itself.