To Till it and Tend it – Earth Day 2011

All that we see –

The heaven, the Earth, and all that fills it –

All these things

Are the external garments of God.

Rebbe Shneur Zalman (1745-1812), The “Alter Rebbe”

Happy Earth Day 2011! Although I am still in Passover mode, today is the perfect opportunity to share a few of the latest “Green Books” that have come across my desk in the past few weeks:

Can We Save the Tiger? By Martin Jenkins. Illustrated by Vicky White. ©2011. Candlewick Press. In this exceptional book, Mr. Jenkins shares the stories of animals teetering on the edge of extinction as a result of human behavior.  He gives us the choice of saving these beautiful creatures or having them disappear forever. Ms. White’s stunning pencil and oil paint illustrations support his efforts to see these animals as masterpieces of God’s creation. Can the loss of these species be any less devastating than losing works by Picasso or Michelangelo? (Ages 6-11)

Dear Tree by Doba Rivka Weber. Illustrated by Phyllis Saroff. ©2010. Hachai Publishing. In this endearing story, a young boy writes a New Year’s (Tu B’Shevat)  letter to his tree wishing it all good things for the year to come. The lovely illustrations show, in detail, exactly what the boy hopes the tree receives – sunlight, rain, birds, bees, strength, etc. The boy promises to take good care of his tree and knows, in return, the tree will provide fruit and shade.  As appropriate for Earth Day as for Tu B’Shevat.  (Ages 3-8)

Gabby & Grandma Go Green written and illustrated by Monica Wellington. ©2011. Beginning with sewing the bags they will use to go shopping, Gabby and her grandmother shop at the Farmer’s Market, walk to the park, recycle their plastic bottles and newspapers and check out Earth Day books at the library. Instructions for making cloth bags and many “Green Tips” accompany the simple text. The brightly colored pictures are a collage of cut-out photographs and gouache on paper artwork.  (Ages 3-7)

A Grand Old Tree written and illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma. ©2005. Arthur A. Levine Books. The life cycle of trees is explained in this marvelously simple yet eloquent book. The bright, colorful tissue paper collage illustrations show a tree filled with life, branching out, creating new trees and finally aging until it’s branches wither back into the earth where it gives life to another generation of trees. (ages 3-7)

Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise illustrated by Tomie dePaola.  ©2011. G.P. Putnam’s Sons.  Inspired by Psalm 148, this exquisitely illustrated book is a beautiful prayer for Earth Day and every day. Whenever you want to appreciate the world we live in and renew your pledge to work toward repairing all the harm that has been done to it in recent years, simply pull this book off the shelf. (all ages)

Who Will Plant a Tree? By Jerry Pallotta. Illustrated by Tom Leonard. ©2010. Sleeping Bear Press. An amazing fact of nature is the different ways seeds have found to disperse themselves. Some seeds have developed burrs to stick to the fur coats of black bears, others have tough coverings to withstand being coughed up by an owl or pooped out by an elephant, and even others have developed parachutes to float in the wind. Whatever it is seeds find their way around the environment in a variety of interesting and wily ways. Using simple language and extraordinarily beautiful illustrations, this book for young readers makes it clear that from horses to humans, we all have a role in planting trees around the world. (Ages 4-8)

Any one of these books will enrich and enlighten your Earth Day experience. Most importantly, however, go out and enjoy this beautiful day. Take a walk. Plant a tree. Whatever you do, make sure you honor the earth and everything in it.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
Books used in this review were provided by the publisher, my local public library or are from my own collection.
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