The magnificent oak tree that inspired a Buckingham man to write his first children’s book

single image

Children should be motivated by Neil Morton’s picture book to take care of trees.

A picture book that a man from Buckingham has developed is intended to teach kids about trees and woodlands and how to plant and care for them.

The first of a series of tales that Linden Village resident Neil Morton first imagined while his own children were young is Quercus the Oak Tree.

Zaria Mmanga, an 18-year-old Buckingham resident, has illustrated it.

The thought first came to Neil, 75, in 1992. I used to manage quite a few woods in the Chilterns as a land agent for the Bucks County Council, and I was planning a nature trail for a wood close to Denham.

While creating this trail, I came upon a gorgeous oak tree that was “veneer quality” — that is, it was flawless and as straight as a die. It was 5 feet in diameter and had no branches protruding for about 30 feet from the tree’s bole.

“And I wondered how in the world this tree had survived for so long and grown into such a gorgeous specimen. They would gather seed from it; the Forestry Commission would refer to it as a “tree bank.” This set me to thinking.

For his son Roger, Neil, who has spent his entire career working in forestry, began inventing tales centred around Quercus the oak tree.

“The first two books were quite rapidly written,” he claimed. “I made the decision to tell a story of how a small acorn turned into a huge tree while sitting in a wood and taking in my surroundings.”

“Forestry has been a lifelong love of mine, and I am capable of performing any activity, including felling, sawmilling, and caring for trees, so I am aware of the struggles these little trees face.”

“And the story is centred on that – it’s an education for young children as to the customs of a wood, wrapped up in a tale about the connections between the trees.”

Additionally, Neil has more volumes in the series planned that will follow Quercus as he develops into a full-grown oak tree.

I’ve written four of the novels and am currently working on book five, he claimed. And if I live long enough, I’ll write ten books!

You’d be shocked at how historical events affect how woods are managed, he continued.

“Book 8 covers the Napoleonic Wars and the Battle of Trafalgar, and Lord Nelson is spotted going through the woods by this oak, Quercus, who has since grown quite large.

“Nelson was resolved to go out and make up the shortfall because it is historical fact that 6,000 trees had to be cut down to build The Victory.

Between the First World War and the present, Books 9 and 10 are concerned.

“Because I haven’t completely made up my mind, I won’t tell you how the story ends, but the real resolution is a little dramatic and has already occurred, Neil stated.

Neil aims to teach schools how to plan nature walks and take care of trees through the directions in his books.


You may like