Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arbor Day Square / Who Will Plant a Tree? - Book Review and stART

When we first moved into our home, we enjoyed the shade of a large white oak tree in our front yard. The double-trunked tree added much interest to our lot, but the same year we moved, a strong storm with high winds hit our neighborhood. One part of the tree twisted and fell over, crashing within a foot of our home. We heard the bang as we huddled in our basement. The tree stood in the city right-away and the officials, concerned with the health of the remaining trunk, removed the other half of the tree a few years after the first half fell. The next spring after the removal, an amazing thing happened. Little oak trees sprouted up all over our front yard! It was almost if the tree had sensed its destiny and decided to ensure its survival through propagation. We have been nurturing a few of the seedlings and hope they survive, growing into strong and healthy native oaks. While we'll likely never see the grown trees, we hope other generations will enjoy the shade.

The last Friday of April, many states celebrate Arbor Day. Nebraska holds claim to the first Arbor Day, held on April 10, 1872. J. Sterling Morton initiated the tree planting and, according to the Arbor Day Foundation website, more than one million trees were planted on that first Arbor Day. This year we are celebrating by reading a few newly published books about trees.

"Year after year they gather in the Square for another Arbor Day, a tree planting day, a holiday. Carrying shovels, rakes, and hoes, Katie and Papa help plant trees throughout the town." - Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrated by Cyd Moore

Arbor Day Square takes readers back to frontier days on the prairie. While the pioneers like living in their new town, they decide something essential is missing -- trees. They take up a collection and order a large number of trees to be shipped by train. When the trees arrive, a little girl named Katie plants small sapling trees in the new town square along with her father and other townsfolk and farmers. Katie is concerned about the small size of the trees but her father assures her they will grow. Together they plant one very special tree in the corner of the square in memory of Katie's mother. Year after year they continue to plant trees in the town, for future generations to enjoy. The author's note in the back explains the origins and history behind Arbor Day.

This is a wonderful and quaintly illustrated picture book to share with children, and it is especially useful for teaching about Arbor Day. Arbor Day Square really captures the essence of what Arbor Day is about, kids and adults planting trees together for future generations to enjoy. My daughter was already familiar with the pioneer days through reading Little House on the Prairie books, and she quickly caught on to the similarities. She especially liked how the little girl planted a special tree in memory of her mother and loved how the book ends.
Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrated by Cyd Moore. Peachtree Publishers (April 2010); ISBN 9781561455171; 32 pages (Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher)

"Last fall a squirrel buried an acorn. He didn't know it, but he planted an oak tree." - Who Will Plant a Tree? by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Tom Leonard

People aren't the only inhabitants of Earth that plant trees. The animals do their share of the work, too. Jerry Pallotta tells young kids how animals help in his book, Who Will Plant a Tree? Creatures as small as an ant and as large as an elephant give Mother Nature a hand by scattering the seeds, often accidentally. The book features realistic, close-up illustrations of a diverse selection of animals from all different areas -- a camel, pacu fish, and wren join the more familiar animals like a bear, goose and dolphin in dispersing seeds. In the end, school children learn about trees and join in the fun by planting trees during a field trip.

Young children, even toddlers will enjoy the brief and simple text and bright illustrations. Both my kids were fascinated by how the animals each help plant a tree. We especially appreciated how the illustrator depicted the growing trees on many of the pages by also picturing tree roots in the soil. There's a very small amount of potty humor in this book. Yes, sometimes the animals help plant the trees by pooping.
Who Will Plant a Tree? by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Tom Leonard. Sleeping Bear Press (April 2010); ISBN 9781585365029; 32 pages
(Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher)

❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖ Leaf Rubbings - stART project ❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖❖

During a short walk outside, we found several leaves to use for our stART (story+art) leaf rubbing craft this week. Leaf rubbings are so easy to make - you just lay a piece of paper on top of a leaf and rub the side of a crayon on top of the paper and the leaf print appears. (We found this craft mentioned on page 39 of Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy. Look for our review of that book and a corresponding giveaway later this week.)

A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


Anonymous said...

aaah, what pretty leaf rubbings! Was thinking the other day, that I used to do them as a child and that i should give them a go with Red Ted soon... on our next walk, we'll look for some nice leaves!! Thanks for sharing!


Fun Frugal Mommy said...

Great Activity. I wish I had known about the book Who will plant a tree when I was teaching. We did a whole unit on trees and talked about how animals spread seeds. I guess I will have to book mark it for Little Sweets.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

My eldest dd would love that first story--she loves pioneers!

Great job with the leaf rubbings. That's such a fun activity!

Thanks for linking up to Read Aloud Thursday!

sbswtp said...

What a fun project! And great list of books :) Thank you for sharing!

Michelle said...

What a fun project! I love rubbings especially nature ones :0) I will have to look for these books they sound great. Thank you for linking up to stART!!

~ Noelle said...

i used to love rubbing leaves... and also the bricks/sidewalk... thanks for the trip down memory lane

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

The books sound very interesting, especially #2, and I agree - leaf rubbings work great for the theme. How neat it is that you might have several oak trees to replace the one that is gone.

The1stdaughter said...

So sweet! I love all your ideas for incorporating the books into activities, it always gives me great things to do with my kiddos. Thanks for that!

Also, I loved Arbor Day Square as well! Such a great book!