(Visit Peachtree blog www.peachtreepub.blogspot.com )
Written by Kathryn O. Galbraith
Illustrated by Cyd Moore
There are no trees on the prairie.
No trees for climbing.
Or for shade.
No trees for fruit or warm winter fires.
No trees for birds. Or for beauty.
I think writing an educational book that will teach as well as entertain has to be one of the greatest writing challenges out there. So I was curious to see how Kathyrn O. Galbaith handled this. Well let me tell you, Kathyrn managed it with ease. Not only is it educational but also full of charm and nostalgia.
Arbor Day Square is a historical fiction where we learn of the annual celebration known as "Arbor Day" through the experiences of a young girl named Katie and her "Papa". They are amongst a group of settlers building their life in the Prairies. As the town builds and the community grows, they discover they are missing one important element...trees.
The story continues with the townspeople pooling their money together and having saplings sent to them from "back East". Katie and Papa help plant trees along with a flowering dogwood in loving memory of her mama. This added another layer to the story which helped me connect to the characters even more.
Arbor Day Square comes full circle as we see Katie as an adult enjoying the fruits of their labor with her own family (along with Papa) as the community continues the annual tree planting ritual.
Trees for climbing.
And for shade.
Trees for fruit and warm winter fires.
Trees for birds.
And for beauty.
And every year Papa laughs and tells Katie,
"Don't worry, honey. They'll grow."
And every year they do.
Kathryn also provides historical facts about Arbor Day which is handy. I only wish there was mention of why "Arbor" was chosen as the name for this special tree planting holiday.
Cyd Moore's soft watercolor and pencil style complement this story so well. Cyd creates such warm settings with dynamic scenes in which children will look at time and time again finding something new to enjoy.
I would definitely recommend this book especially if you are looking for ways to introduce environment friendly activities to children.
To learn more about Arbor Day, visit : www.arborday.org.