Some titles are simply hard to ignore, and Patricia Polacco’s The Trees of the Dancing Goats is one of them! Goats? Trees? Dancing? How could you ignore this book? Polacco constantly draws from her life experiences and other stories people have told her to create heartwarming tales for children and their parents to read. With her skilled hands, she has written and illustrated countless picture books that parents and kids alike have adored over the decades.
The Trees of the Dancing Goats features a familiar character, Trisha, who has appeared in other Polacco books. Trisha loves Hanukkah. Her family always gets together, making delicious foods and playing fun games and giving delightful gifts. With potato latkes to eat, decorations to put up, and family to be with, it’s a great time. Trisha visits her neighbors one day, thinking that she’ll find them in full Christmas swing with decorations of their own and all sorts of fun things. But to her surprise and dismay, the family is sick and in bed with scarlet fever, as are many of the other neighbors. Trisha tells her family, and they aren’t sure what to do. Then her Grandpa has an idea.
Trisha’s family comes together to gather trees for their neighbors. They will decorate them and then secretly deliver them. Trisha puts Grandpa’s carved animals on the trees and they carry them off, along with food, to the neighbors houses.
Russian Jewish Hanukkah and Christmas come together in this book, a story full of holiday spirit no matter what particular holiday it might be. Polacco knows how to bring two different cultures together and show love and support. The bright illustrations are very festive, making this book great for the holidays (Christmas or Hanukkah!), though it is still a fine story to tell any time of the year. Parents and children alike will have fun reading about all the things that Trisha’s family does for their holiday traditions, and feel good when the family goes out of their way to help all their sick neighbors.
For ages 5 and up, it’s the kind of book to cuddle up with on a cold night with your little one.