|Reading Level||Grade 1|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
|Number of Pages||12|
“An ode to trees and fruit in celebration of Tu B’Shevat, a Jewish holiday. Often occurring in the latter part of January or early February, Tu B’Shevat is also called ‘New Year of the Trees.’ The five double-page spreads show friends and family members planting trees, picking and eating tree fruit, and taking care of the planet as the holiday is observed in modern Israel and other parts of the world. The rhymed verse scans with a pleasing rhythm: ‘On Tu B’Shevat / we plant a tree. / Baskets of fruit / For you and me. // Orange, grapefruit / Peach or plum, / Lemon, mango, / Apple—yum!’ The collagelike graphics in muted jewel tones are overlaid on wood grain (likely digitally simulated) with a blue or green wash. While some of the body postures and facial expressions are a bit stiff, it is refreshing to see a diverse group of children and adults engaged in the festivities. There are playful bits of humor in the art, evident in one scene in which a young boy pops out of a hole where a tree is about to be planted. While commemorating only a minor holiday, this book is a gentle introduction for the youngest observers.” —Kirkus
“In this charming story, people of different ages, gender, and races plant and take care of trees and enjoy their bounty. The lively illustrations portray people enjoying various activities, like climbing trees, having a Tu B’shevat picnic, singing, dancing, recycling, and swinging from trees. The rhyming couplets and rhythms are simple, effective, and age-appropriate. Bright greens, blues, and reds dominate these sturdy pages in collage-type illustrations reminiscent of Eric Carle’s work. Thank You, Trees! is not appropriate for Orthodox children, due to the non-tzniut (modest) clothing. A better choice for this audience might be Dear Tree: A Tu B’shvat Wish (Hachai, 2010).” —AJL Newsletter
The New York Times Book Review
“This charming celebration of Tu B’Shevat marries Jewish tradition with contemporary environmentalism in a celebration of trees, reflecting the way the winter holiday is celebrated today in much of Israel. ‘On Tu B’Shevat/We thank each tree/For all it gives/To you and me.’ The art and the rhyming text are carefully pitched to a very young reader. Even the youngest will glean new appreciation for and respect of the environment: ‘Recycle paper,/ show you care./Weed and water./Do your share.’ Kristen Balouch’s jolly collage-like illustrations, done in a vaguely ’70s palette, have lots of orange, olive and faded blue. The backgrounds are a faux wood grain, which reinforces the book’s celebratory tree-hugging.” -The New York Times
“Tu B’Shevat is the Jewish Arbor Day, and families can celebrate its message with this charming and colorful board book for youngest readers. Karwoski (Seaman, the Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark) teams with educator Gootman to provide easy-to-say (or repeat) rhymes (‘Recycle paper,/ Show you care./ Weed and water./ Do your share’). Collage-style illustrations by Balouch (The King and the Three Thieves) brighten the book. The lines and shapes she uses are expressive and energetic, and her illustrations are packed with birds and other outdoor critters, as well as a multicultural complement of children. The simple lesson will stick, and trees can be thanked almost all year round, from sticky green spring to the last leaf of fall. Tu B’Shevat will next be celebrated Jan. 26, 2013.”—Publishers Weekly
Illustrator: Kristen Balouch
Kristen Balouch studied art at the Pratt Institute. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son and daughter.
Author: Gail Langer Karwoski
Gail Langer Karwoski, a former public school teacher, is the author of many award-winning books for young readers. Her historical novels include Quake! Disaster in San Francisco, 1906, and Seaman, the Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark. Gail lives in Watkinsville, Georgia.
Author: Marilyn E. Gootman
Marilyn E. Gootman, has been the "pied piper" of young Jewish families in Athens, Georgia since 2007, when she founded The PJ Library program for the congregation Children of Israel. Over her 35-year education career, Dr. Gootman has taught children, university students, educators, camp counselors, and parents.