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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TREE! by Madelyn Rosenberg


A Tu B'Shevat Story

by Madelyn Rosenberg & illustrated by Jana Christy

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8075-3151-8
Publisher: Whitman

On the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat, the birthday of the trees, Joni strives to create a celebration befitting her old majestic tree.

She brings water; with friend Nate, she blows and blows the clouds away until the sun peeks out; she even places a large mud cupcake at the base of the tree’s trunk. Although the tree doesn't eat the cupcake, it may look a little happier. Really, it's a frustratingly unresponsive honoree. Determined to find the right gift for her leafy friend, Joni concludes that a new tree planted close by and a promise to continue to nurture her arboreal companions is the best way to observe the holiday. “I promise to protect you and water you and love you.…I’ll be good to the trees of the world.” Demure characters colored in the hues of pale spring create a peaceful atmosphere for this environmentally conscious holiday, which encourages a respect for the Earth’s natural offerings. Joni’s "thinking out loud" conversational dialogue is balanced against an omniscient narrator, providing an easy-to-interpret text. And while directed at a Jewish audience, the overall ecological message can be applied in just about any cultural milieu.

Ingenuous and sweet. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)