Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ARBOR DAY SQUARE by Kathryn O. Galbraith --- Golden Sower Primary Nominee 2013-2014


                                                                                    Arbor Day Square 

                                                                           by Kathryn O. Galbraith;      

                                                                          illustrated by Cyd Moore


                                                                                          Grades K-3



 In the nineteenth century as prairie towns start to spring up, the people who live there know something missing. That something is trees, for climbing, shade, fruit, winter fires, birds, or beauty.  The people take up a collection from all the people living in the town, and when they have enough they order fifteen trees.

When the trees arrive, Katie thinks they are too small but her Papa tells her they will grow. Papa and Katie plant a special tree to remember Mama.

The town has so much fun planting those trees that they promise to do it again next year. They do this year after year on
Arbor Day and it continues through generations.
 From the School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 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
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