The Dry Garden: “The tree rings’ tale”

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference concludes in Copenhagen, what is a smart kid to make of the riots? That we’re all going to die — Santa first? That in a few years down the road, discussion of climate is best had wearing a clown’s nose while taunting a Danish policeman?

Let’s hope not. Let’s dream instead that winter solstice on Monday marks brighter days ahead in which the next generation may be armed with the best knowledge of what climate change means and what can be done about it.

And, eh presto, an ideal volume is at hand. A newly released book aimed at young teens, “The Tree Rings’ Tale: Understanding our Changing Climate,” is the work of science writer John Fleck. Although there are other texts out there for children, what sets Fleck’s book apart for Californians is its emphasis on the West. It’s particularly relevant to