One of the most beautiful picture books that I’ve seen in the last few years is the bilingual A Tree 《树》 by the Chinese writer and illustrator San Zhi 三只. I’m not surprised that it was one of the books on the “10 picture books you can’t miss” list that we’ve written about earlier.
In very simple words and with beautiful illustrations San Zhi gives us the biography of a tree, from its “conception” as the seed sinks into the earth until the day that the tree dies and itself becomes new soil.
The illustrations are delicate, in pastel shades of green, blue-gray and brown. The tree is surrounded by animals – squirrels, foxes, birds, insects, deer, rabbits – who all benefit from it and contribute to its growth. With illustrations like these you don’t need many words to make readers see the importance of trees.
A Tree is a bilingual book, and it seems that the author translated the book herself. San Zhi (real name: Gan Wei 甘玮) was born in Chongqing, and studied Illustration at the University of the Arts, London. In 2015 she set up the VE Art Studio (VE艺术工作室) in Chongqing.