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)