Top Ten Tuesday: arboreal books

Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week we’ve got a semi-freebie and in honour of Wyrd and Wonder starting next week, I’m focusing on books with trees on the cover.

Yes, absolutely, Wyrd and Wonder starts next week. It really is nearly May. That means There’s Always Room For One More will be wall to wall fantasy for the month, with a special (if not exclusive) focus on forest fantasies as this is our fifth Wyrd and Wonder and fifth anniversaries are celebrated with wood! So let’s kick that off early and enjoy some books with arboreal covers.

Straight in with a personal favourite: Guy Gavriel Kay’s epic debut The Summer Tree is one of Wyrd and Wonder group reads (join us!) and has a cover featuring an ENORMOUS tree of SACRIFICE with a ritual in full swing. Nothing screams mythic fantasy like a bloke being hung on a tree, right? Magic, portents, and heroics also abound.

Book Cover: The Summer Tree (Fionavar Tapestry)
Book cover: Tales by Trees - The Carpenter

What’s this? Not just a book with a tree on the cover, but a book told from a tree’s point of view! Tales by Trees are an artistic adventure; original fairytales from a unique perspective, told across multiple media by author Iiro Küttner and illustrator Ville Tietäväinen.

How about ominous trees promising chill winds that blow nobody any good? Yes? Marvellous, have Catriona Ward’s haunting debut Rawblood. This literary ghost story is a Gothic feast, with multigenerational havoc and deft storytelling. Just don’t expect a light-hearted, uplifting read…

Book cover: Rawblood - Catriona ward (tree branches against a grey sky)
Book cover: The Near Witch - V E Schwab (a tree of coiling green and red vines reaches out across a white background, a crow saw on one branch)

While we’re talking debuts, time for a nod to VE Schwab’s The Near Witch. Yes, the story is all about how Near is isolated on the moors, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t spooky woods nearby complete with a child-stealing wicked witch (and an excuse for some gorgeous cover art).

There are a lot of debuts featuring trees on my shelf as it turns out. This Is Our Undoing by Lorraine Wilson is both a tense, forest-set thriller with an abundance of atmosphere and one of the absolute best books I’ve read all year. Also, trees on the cover! And a gorgeous fox.

Book cover: This Is Our Undoing - Lorraine Wilson
Book cover: Comet Weather - Liz Williams

Okay, so I haven’t read Comet Weather yet, but it was a Subjective Chaos Kind of Award nominee for Best Fantasy last year and it goes all out for eye-catching tree cover art! A contemporary fantasy of four unconventional sisters reuniting to go in search of their mother – and guess what? Not a debut!

A different kind of tree on the cover: Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer features the hand-drawn clusters of a forest map. This is a magical reimagining of Sherwood Forest, where Marian practices the Craft, a guilt-ridden Robin abandoned her for the Church, something is hunting down the Merry Men and the Fae are as glamorous and dangerous as they should be.

Book cover: Brightfall - Jaime Lee Moyer (a map of Sherwood, illustrative, green)
Book cover: Crossroads of Canopy - Thoraiya Dyer (a dizzying look down from the canopy of a forest into its verdant depths)

This Aussie fantasy debut was a DNF for me, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Thoraiya Dyer’s Crossroads of Canopy for this list. Not only is the cover art a dizzying view down from the treetops, the story is set across multiple levels of a giant rainforest.

I still haven’t got round to reading April Genevieve Tucholke’s Seven Endless Forests, but the cover has some lovely tree-based silhouette work (and there’s a forest in the name, we’re all good here). Arthurian and Norse myth inspire a coming of age tale as a girl sets out to rescue her kidnapped sister in this YA stand-alone.

Book cover: Seven Endless Forests - April Genevieve Tucholke
Book cover: Duncton Wood - William Horwood

I’ll end with Duncton Wood, a tale of epic moles – think (but not too hard) of a sexed-up Watership Down – standing in here for all the stories of animals I devoured in my childhood and teens. The Redwall and The Animals of Farthing Wood books definitely had trees on the covers; even the Silver Brumby books had the occasional eucalyptus. Good times.

Can you think of any fabulous trees on book covers?