Netta and Her Plant

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 2
  • Reading Level: Grade 1

On Tu B’Shevat, little Netta, who lives in Israel, brings a plant home from preschool. She loves it. Netta grows and the plant grows, until it is time for both of them to find new homes and new friends. Netta and Her Plant tells the story of the changes Netta encounters as she grows up, getting taller getting a new baby sister, and preparing for her first day of kindergarten at her new school, each stage of her life mirrored by her growing plant.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Preschool - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 1
Genre Picture Books, Social Studies
Copyright 2014
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2014-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV017090, JUV033020, JUV039020
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 8.1875 x 9
Features Reviewed



" ‘It’s Tu B’Shevat today,’ the teacher explained. ‘Your name, Netta, means ‘plant,’ and now is the time to plant.’ So opens this picture book about the Jewish New Year for Trees, celebrated on the fifteenth day of Shevat. Although Tu B’Shevat isn’t explained within the text, a brief concluding afterword clarifies. At school, Netta and her teacher plant a seedling together on the holiday, then Netta brings it home to watch it grow. As Netta outgrows her crib, so the plant outgrows its pot. Soon her mother grows too, and Netta welcomes a little sister. The refrain ‘The plant grew. Netta grew’ continues throughout, all the way until the end, when the once former sapling is finally planted in the ground. Time passes quickly here, and a lot of different events occur, which may be confusing for some kids. Still, this is a fine introduction to the Jewish holiday and showcases the loving bond between Netta and her family. The softly shaded illustrations add additional warmth." — Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“Gellman’s (Jeremy’s Dreidel) gentle, serious prose conveys profound respect for Netta’s unwavering stewardship as well as her changing emotional states. Ugliano (Benjamin and the Silver Goblet) is very much in sync, with quietly reassuring scenes of modern Jewish family life and characters whose thoughtful, open faces exude warmth and constancy.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Chicago Jewish Star

“This is an endearing, warm story, so gently told, with soft, charming illustrations. Netta and her family are, in a word, irresistible. You won’t want to limit this book to the Tu B’Shevat holiday – it is good story-telling at all times of the year.” — Chicago Jewish Star

Kirkus Reviews

“A little girl’s understanding of the annual Jewish New Year for trees, known as the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, begins with a seedling she continues to care for through her primary years, watching it grow into a fine small tree.

This gentle narrative incorporates the natural progression of both plant and family life as its protagonist, Netta (‘plant’ in Hebrew), grows under her family’s nurturing even as she cultivates the new seedling. When Netta grows too big for her toddler-size bed and moves into a larger one, she also replants her little growing tree in a roomier pot, giving it water, sunlight and even music. As the whole family expands with a new baby sister and an imminent move to a larger home, Netta’s tree moves with them to an outdoor setting, first on the new house’s porch and then in the ground in a nearby park. Beginning with new kindergarten friends, Netta will celebrate the growth of the tree each year on this special day with a traditional outdoor party filled with fruits and nuts typically harvested in Israel. A pale springlike palette of greens, yellows and blues in the soft-edged drawings reinforces the symbolism of new growth.

A welcome addition to the Judaica and ecology shelves. (glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 3-5)” — Kirkus Reviews

Author: Ellie B. Gellman

Ellie B. Gellman grew up in Minneapolis, where she first began telling stories to the children in her synagogue. Her previous books include Netta and her Plant, Shai's Shabbat Walk, and Jeremy's Dreidel.

Illustrator: Natascia Ugliano

Natascia Ugliano received her diploma at the Fine Arts Academy of Brera, in Milan, Italy. She has illustrated many children's books including Abraham's Search for God, Sarah Laughs, and Benjamin and the Silver Goblet. She lives in Milan.