From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Joni wants to celebrate Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish "Birthday of the Trees" (as explained in an author's note at the front of the book). She offers various gifts to the tree in her front yard: water, sun, a dirt "cupcake," but concludes that it needs a companion. Friends and family help her plant a sapling, and their gift is a promise to take care of the trees of the world. In a lovely conclusion, the rattling of leaves sounds "as if the trees were clapping." Endpapers list "ways to help the Earth," including a suggestion to spread the word to friends. Warm, impressionistic digital paintings show resourceful Joni, her cooperative friend Nate, and their peaceful, leafy neighborhood. Their ideas for gifts are realistic, their love for nature is palpable, and they make fine role models for readers. An excellent choice for caregivers to read before holding a tree celebration of any kind with children.-Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FLα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Young Joni marks Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, by singing to the large tree in her front yard. Later, with help from her neighbor, Nate, she finds other ways to honor her leafy friend: watering it, blowing clouds away from the sun, creating a mulch “cupcake,” and encouraging birds. Finally they decide the tree would like a friend, and with help from Mom, they purchase and plant a sapling, celebrating with a party for both. Rosenberg’s succinct text conveys the basic concepts of this holiday for young readers. Christy’s soft-focus art features earth tones and spring colors, while the endpapers depict a large tree whose branches remind readers of ways to help the earth. Although aimed at a Jewish audience, the book’s ecological message will resonate with a wider readership. Pair with Marji E. Gold-Vukson’s Grandpa and Me on Tu B’Shevat (2004) for a holiday story hour or to explain the origins of Arbor Day and Earth Day. Preschool-Grade 2. --Kay Weisman