Arbor Day Square


In this fictionalized retelling of the origins of Arbor Day, Katie and Papa struggle to make their growing frontier town feel like home, following Mama's death. What's missing? Trees?trees for climbing, trees for shade, trees for fruit or warm winter fires. And trees for beauty.

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In this fictionalized retelling of the origins of Arbor Day, Katie and Papa struggle to make their growing frontier town feel like home, following Mama's death. What's missing? Trees—trees for climbing, trees for shade, trees for fruit or warm winter fires. And trees for beauty.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
The small prairie town was growing as more people arrived each day. It had a school, a church and shops, but "no trees for climbing or shade, no trees for fruit or birds or beauty." A variety of fifteen trees were sent for, but when the small saplings finally arrived, they seemed too little for young Katie. Her father assured her that they would grow. The trees were carefully planted near the church and in the schoolyard. In a quiet corner of the town square, Katie and her Pa planted a dogwood in memory of Mama. When all the trees were planted, the townsfolk picnicked and danced under the stars. Katie suggested they do it "again next year." They did—and we do every year, too. Each Arbor Day in this country and many countries of the world, trees are celebrated for the joy they bring kids climbing them, the shade they provide, the fruit they bear, the birds they shelter, and their beauty. The origin of Arbor Day is simply told in this charming story. Warm colored pencil-and-watercolor illustrations evoke a simpler time, bringing to life a small prairie town and its growth into a thriving community of close friends. The final spread shows those now-mature trees still providing shade and beauty today. Katie's youthful enthusiasm for the project and her initial skepticism at the diminutive size of the trees rings true. The quiet moment she and her Pa share planting a memorial tree could serve as a discussion starter about the hardships of prairie life. This is a fine addition for units about Arbor Day as well as those about Westward Expansion. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A brand-new prairie town has no trees. "No trees for climbing./Or for shade./No trees for fruit or warm winter fires./No trees for birds. Or for beauty." A girl and her father are among the townsfolk who pass a collection basket and raise enough to order 15 trees from back East for the town square. When the train finally brings the saplings, they are set out and watered. "Someday, these oaks will shade the bench," Papa says. "And there, the elm tree will shelter the bandstand." In a quiet corner of the square, Katie and Papa plant a dogwood in memory of Mama. With their work done, they share their food with friends and dogs while a fiddler plays and the moon rises. These neighbors decide to do the same thing the following year and every year after. The passage of time is marked by trees growing tall and the town mellowing. Katie grows up, marries, and has a daughter who holds onto her grandpa's hand as they set out new saplings and have their picnic under a flowering dogwood. The final spread shows a modern town square shaded by mature trees that are enjoyed by grown-ups, children, and dogs. Galbraith's poetic text and Moore's soft watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations re-create those spring days on the prairie when planting trees was cause for celebration. The origin of Arbor Day, first observed in Nebraska in 1872, is explained in the author's note.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Kirkus Reviews
Papa and Katie, a father and daughter, move to a new prairie town in the 1800s. As they settle in, Papa notices, along with other townspeople, that there are no trees for climbing, shade or firewood. Everyone donates what they can for new trees, even Katie, who drops six pennies into the collection basket. When the trees arrive, the townspeople celebrate their arrival with music and food and set about planting them. Thus, Arbor Day is born. It's hard for Katie to believe that someday the little saplings will be big trees, but Papa assures her they will. They also plant one in memory of Katie's mother, a story within the story that's left to readers' imaginations. The last two spreads bring the tale forward, first with a glimpse of a grown Katie and her own children, then with a modern park scene. Moore's gentle pencil and watercolors lend a classic "storybook" feel to the story but don't stand out stylistically. A sweet but not terribly substantive tale about the origin of Arbor Day. (historical note) (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561455171
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 791,150
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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