From School Library Journal
reS-Gr 2-A disappointing addition to the series about a little spider learning about the Jewish holidays by celebrating with his human neighbors. Sammy watches the Shapiros plant a tree in early spring. The year passes as the tree grows and Sammy learns about the seasons as it flowers in the summer and its leaves turn in the fall. Tu B'Shevat is not actually mentioned as the New Year for trees until three pages from the end, when the Shapiros celebrate with nuts and dried fruit and the planting of a sapling. It's not clear whether or not the tree at the beginning of the book was also planted on Tu B'Shevat. The paper-cut illustrations in vivid colors show the changing tree and the family caring for their yard. As a book about seasons, Tu B'Shevat is marginally effective. As an explanation and celebration of Judaism's commitment to growing things, it falls flat. Try Leslie Kimmelman's Dance, Sing, Remember: A Celebration of Jewish Holidays (HarperCollins, 2000) for a more detailed and pertinent explanation of the holiday.
Martha Link, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
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