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)
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.
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