About the Holiday
In the middle of Gifts from the Garden and Garden for Wildlife Month, we celebrate Love a Tree Day. Trees provide so much––for us and for the earth. Trees release oxygen into the atmosphere, give much-needed shade from the sun’s heat, and beautify the land. And their impact doesn’t end there. Trees also inspire art and literature and ingenious solutions, which all come together in today’s book.
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind
Written by Liz Garton Scanlon | Illustrated by Lee White
There once was a man who lived in a house on top of very tall, dusty hill. Being so high up, the man’s house captured breezes that set his curtains fluttering and his wind chimes tinkling. Sometimes the wind blew, rattling the shutters, sending the laundry flying from the line, and tearing boards from the house. Inside, the wind whipped, the “table tipped, and the tea spilled.” The man’s hat flew off and out the window, joining the birds who were leaving too.
The man cried, “What to do?” Down on the sidewalk below, a little girl named Kate caught the man’s hat and the man’s cry too. Kate wanted to help. She “couldn’t stop the wind,” but she knew of something that could slow it down. When she returned the man’s hat, she also brought a wagon full of saplings. Kate and the man planted the trees, and they tended them as they grew—even while the wind blew.
“The trees grew, the wind blew, and the time flew. The time flew as the trees grew…and grew…and Kate did too.” As the trees got bigger, taller, and stronger, the “leaves fluttered,” but the shutters quieted and the board stayed still. Inside, the tea brewed, the dust settled down, and the man’s hat stayed put. Even the birds came back. With the house ringed in trees, Kate and the man enjoyed a picnic in the yard, cooled just enough by the gentle breeze.
Readers will love getting carried away by Liz Garton Scanlon’s breezy lines that through alliteration and rhyme replicate a windy day as things bang, flap, whip, and go flying. As the trees that Kate and the man plant grow and begin to shelter the house from the wind, the rhythm of Scanlon’s text becomes more staccato and rooted. Little Kate is a terrific role model for young readers for her environmental know-how and her stick-to-itiveness as the trees grow from saplings to maturity. The long friendship between the man and Kate is also endearing.
Lee White’s softly hued pages swirl with swipes and swishes that whip curtains, steal laundry, and upend the table and tea. The man’s bewilderment serves as a foil to Kate’s determination and problem-solving, and the difference she makes in the man’s quality of life is evident as the trees grow, their friendship develops, and the wind is finally tamed. Kids will identify with this kind and intelligent child who grows up to be a caring adult.
Beautifully conceived and with lovely details, Kate, Who Tamed the Wind is an environmentally conscious story that will inspire young readers at home and in the classroom.
Ages 4 – 8
Schwartz & Wade, 2018 | ISBN 978-1101934791
Discover more about Liz Garton Scanlon and her books on her website
To learn more about Lee White, her books, and his art, visit his website.
National Love a Tree Day Activity
Paper Plate Tree
With this easy craft, children can make a tree to decorate their room or to use as a centerpiece for play.
- Two paper plates
- Paper towel tube
- Brown craft paint
- Green craft paint (using a variety of green and yellow paints adds interest. Use orange, red, and yellow to make a fall tree.)
- Paintbrush, cork, or cut carrot can be used to apply paint
- Glue or hot glue gun or stapler
- Paint the paper towel tube brown, let dry
- Paint the bottoms of the two paper plates with the green (or other color) paints, let dry
- Flatten about 4 inches of the paper towel tube
- Glue or tape the flat part of the paper towel tube to the unpainted side of one paper plate
- Glue the edges of the two paper plates together, let dry.
- Straighten the tree so that it can stand up, or hang your tree on a wall, bulletin board, in a window
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