One Tree by Christopher Cheng
A touching and uplifting story about love, change, and the importance of the natural environment in all our lives. This is a story about the difference between the life in the city and the countryside. It is also a story about family relationships, that special connection shared between a grandson and a grandfather. And finally, the story is about the importance of trees in our lives no matter whether we live in the mountains or the city. Cities can also become green, and small actions by a single person can bring about change in the society as a whole.
Grandfather used to live on his farm in the mountains surrounded by trees. But he had to move to the busy city and live with with his son's family in an apartment. Grandfather, who used to be very happy and tell the most beautiful stories, has turned silent and sad in the city. However, one day, something changes while he takes a walk in the city market with his grandson. The grandson discovered something that brings Grandfather’s memories alive again, and Grandfather smiles and starts telling stories again.
The story is illustrated by Bruce Whatley who expertly captures the changes on Grandfather's face with his unique style.
One Tree by Christopher Cheng and Bruce Whatley - First published by Puffin, 2019Reprinted by permission of Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd
About the author
Christopher Cheng is an accomplished children’s author who writes fiction and non-fiction full time, conducts workshops and visits schools. He has an MA in Children’s Literature and has served as Literacy Ambassador for the Federal Government’s Literacy and Numeracy Week initiative and the 2012 National Year of Reading.
His picture book One Child, illustrated by Steven Woolman, won the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Picture Books (Australia) and the Skipping Stones Honour Book (USA). Christopher also worked with Sarah Davis on the critically acclaimed picture book Sounds Spooky which won an Aurealis Award in the picture book category and is a CBCA Notable Book.
Unit lesson plan
Book Title: One Tree
Author: Christopher Cheng
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia, 2019
Reading Level*: Lexile 500L-600L / Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level reading Test 3.8
Suitable for Ages: 9 to 10 years
Proposed grade level: P4
Themes: Our relationship to the natural and built environment; change and continuity; friendship/significant relationships; creativity/imagination; social responsibility
Connection to Hong Kong Curriculum: English Language, Language Education KLA
Values: Care for others, Respect for others, Responsibility
Modules: Places and activities, Me, my family and friends, The world around us;
General Studies Curriculum: People and environment, Community and citizenship
Lesson duration: 30 minutes per lesson
* for reference purposes only
L9 (Info gap)
L9 (Info gap)
L10 (Writing caption)
L9 (Info gap)
Lesson plans and teaching materials
Lesson 1 - Character description
To be able to understand the character traits of the main character.
To be able to make prediction while reading the story.
Focused skills: Reading, Visual literacy
Students are able to choose the appropriate adjectives to describe the character.
Students are able to make prediction of why the grandfather is unhappy.
Lesson 2 - Old and New Days
To be able to differentiate past and present events.
To be able to discuss and provide personal opinion on why the grandfather is unhappy.
Focused skill: Grammar
Students are able to categorise the paper strips into old and new columns.
Students are able to discuss their thought about why the grandfather is unhappy.
Lesson 3 - Plants
To be able to develop understanding of the second character – the boy.
To be able to understand the essentials plants need.
Focused skill: Activity
Students are able to answer comprehension questions correctly.
Students are able to provide the essentials for growing their plants.
Lesson 4 - Order of events
To be able to understand the sequence of events in the story.
Focused skill: Reading
Students are able to match the events with the correct description.
Lesson 5 - Comparison with past and present tense
To be able to use the correct tense to represent the meaning of old and new.
Focused skill: Writing
Students are able to describe the old and new balcony using past and present tense.
Lesson 6 - My neighbours
To be able to understand what neighbours are and the importance of neighbours.
Focused skills: Speaking and writing
Students are able to identify grandfather’s neighbours.
Students are able to talk about their neighbours.
Lesson 7 - Air pollution
To be able to practise listening for specific information.
To be able to understand the factors and ways to help with air pollution.
Focused skill: Listening
Students are able to identify key information from the listening material and answer the questions.
Students are able to think of ways to help with air pollution.
Lesson 8 - Narrative structure
To be able to understand narrative structure and how it operates in the story.
Focused skill: Reading
Students are able to match the five parts of a plot mountain with the book.
Lesson 9 - Yum cha
To be able to learn vocabulary related to yum cha.
To be able to practise listening and speaking skills.
Focused skills: Speaking and listening
Students are able to identify and match the names of dim sum with the pictures.
Students are able to role play a waiter and a customer for ordering dim sum.
Lesson 10 - Boardgame
To reinforce the understanding of the book.
To notice the present and past tense used in the book.
To express personal opinions towards the book.
Focused skills: Reading and speaking
Students are able to read the sentences in each square.
Students are able to answer questions related to the book.