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Happy Birthday, Tree!: A Tu B'Shevat Story…
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Happy Birthday, Tree!: A Tu B'Shevat Story

by Madelyn Rosenberg

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I really liked this book for many reasons. First of all it teaches children of a not widely known Jewish tradition, A Tu B’Shevat, which is now Arbor Day. I like how the author included many messages within the book. First telling about the Jewish tradition then she goes into how each of us can do our part to help the environment. She shows this through the little girl character in the book that is excited about celebrating trees and gets everyone else interested in the trees as well. Since our environment is a very big deal in this generation, I like how the author teaches children about caring for our environment in a fun way through the little girl’s care for the tree in her yard. Another aspect I enjoyed about this book was that it showed how no matter how young or small you feel that every person on this planet can make a difference and that inspires other to do the same as well. That what seems to be the main message throughout the book, which is an excellent thing to teach children. ( )
  kwiggi3 | May 5, 2014 |
I had a few issues with this book, but overall I did enjoy the message it portrayed. My issue with the book was its representation of a young Jewish girl. The was drawn with brown frizzy hair and a large nose. I feel like this is perpetuating an untrue stereotype that needs to die down.
The reason why I did end up enjoying the book was its ability to properly and simply explain what Tu B'shevat is without overwhelming or complicating any of the pieces of it. In addition, the front and back of the book are illustrated with ways for the reader to 'go green' which encourages kids to help with the environment.
The main idea of the book is blatantly about how we can help the Earth, as well as the holiday of Tu B'shevat. ( )
  lmalak1 | Mar 2, 2014 |
“Happy Birthday, Tree!” was a very cute story that I believed portrayed environmental conservation in a very powerful, enjoyable way for young children. One reason that I believed this story was powerful is because the author illustrated environmental conservation through the eyes of a specific religion, Judaism. Each year, Jewish people celebrate “Tu B’Shevat” or “The New Year for Trees!” I think for Jewish children, and children of other religions if addressed appropriately, this story could serve as a powerful tool to lead into the topics of environmental conservation. I also believe this book was powerful because the storyline outlined what exactly trees need to stay healthy. For example, the little girl decided to give the tree “presents” for its birthday: water, sunshine, air, cupcakes out of soil, and eventually, a friend. By addressing the issue of environmental conservation through “a birthday,” I believe that many children will be able to relate and want to do the same for trees in their area. The big idea of this story was clearly reiterated throughout the novel, as well as in an index in the front and back of the story: How can we help the earth? ( )
  kburdg1 | Mar 1, 2014 |
Happy Birthday, Tree is about the Jewish Celebration of Tu B’Shevat, which is considered a birthday for trees. The two children in the story are celebrating and are trying to do something special for the tree in the girl's back yard for its birthday. The main message of the book is to take care of the environment. I really like this book. One thing that I really liked is the picture of the tree the on the pages before the story itself begins. Each branch of the tree lists something that children can do to help take care of the environment, such as writing on both sides of papers, taking short showers, car pooling, and planting and caring for trees. A second thing that I really liked about this book was the personification of the tree. When the kids are giving the tree different things for its birthday celebration the tree “looked happy.” When the kids decide to get the tree a smaller tree as a friend the tree sounds “as if there was clapping.” I thought that the personification of the tree portrayed it as another character in the story. I think that was particularly effective because they were celebrating the tree’s birthday, which is something that people celebrate. ( )
  MelissaPatek | Feb 24, 2014 |
I loved this book! First, I loved this book for the flyleaf designs. On both the front and back flyleaf, there is a large picture of the tree in which the book’s plot revolves around and on each branch there are tips on how to stay green, conserve energy, and reduce waste such as “Plant and care for a tree” which the main character does in the book. It also hints to “pick up litter” and “recycle trash at home.” As an avid environmentalist, I love the idea of pairing a book about trees to saving the environment, which this book did discreetly, but still in a powerful way via the front and back flyleaf designs. The second reason I also adored this book for its personification of the tree mentioned throughout the book. As the book read on, the main character commented on how the tree looked happy and also sounded as if it was happy after having a smaller tree planted next to it. By giving this tree a person-like role in the book, it made the topic of helping the environment more personable and emotional since helping a personified figure feels more like helping a real individual. The big idea of this book is to inform the reader of the Jewish holiday “Tu B'Shevat” as well as to inform the reader on how to help reduce, reuse and recycle to save trees so they can “tell [their] friends how they can help, too!” ( )
  mspisa1 | Feb 22, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807531510, Hardcover)

Tu B'Shevat is a Jewish holiday known as "New Year for Trees" or "Birthday of the Trees," a day that celebrates trees and taking care of our environment. In this story, which takes place on Tu B'Shevat, a little girl named Joni presents her favorite climbing tree with a special birthday gift.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

Joni and Nate figure out how to celebrate a tree's birthday for Tu B'Shevat.

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