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The Trees Of The Dancing Goats

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  453 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family's preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christ ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 729)
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Kathryn
Dec 22, 2008 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone but especially those with Jewish and Christian blended families/friends
One of those truly heartwarming stories that focuses on what the holidays, religion, and humanity are supposed to be about (but manages not to sound preachy!) When illness strikes their Christian neighbors in a small farming community, Trisha's Jewish family (the only ones escaping the fever) helps deliver Christmas to the other homes, decorating small fir trees with some of the wooden animal toys that Trisha's grandfather carved for their Hanukkah celebration. A beautiful tale of love and frien ...more
Lisa Vegan
Dec 16, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: family Hanukkah and Christmas reading
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
After recently reading quite a few books by her, Patricia Polacco is now one of my favorite authors. Her picture books touch my heart in a way that no other children’s picture books have ever done. Her books are special gifts to readers of all ages.

This is a superb story about inter-faith friendship and being a good neighbor. The illustrations are wonderful. The title didn’t appeal to me but once I read the story I loved the title too.

I put this on my fiction shelf, but as with (almost) all of P
...more
Sandi
I've never actually found a copy of this book; I should just order it from Amazon. It was published many years ago in the Lands End Christmas catalog and I've never forgotten it. It's a great story about being true neighbors. It's a beautifully written tale about a Jewish family that makes Christmas special for neighboring families who have been stricken by a flu epidemic. It made me cry.

Why is it that my favorite Christmas stories are the ones that make me cry?
Crystal Marcos
I adore this book. I loved the message in this story to bring the holiday spirit to others in need regardless of whether or not they celebrate the holidays the same way as you. This is truly a heartwarming tale and I do appreciate that this book comes from Patricia Polacco’s real life events. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas I think you will enjoy this story.

I especially enjoyed feeling the closeness of this family and felt they were always this close even when it wasn’t the holidays
...more
Dolly
Dec 02, 2010 Dolly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Before moving to Virginia, we had only read one or maybe two books by Patricia Polacco. But I saw that our girls' Elementary school seemed to really be enthralled with this author. I later found out that they had won an anti-bullying contest and earned a mural painted on their library wall by Patricia Polacco. Intrigued, we started to read more and more of her stories and we have loved every one so far. Her illustrations are so full of emotion and her narratives are very touching, very raw, and ...more
Jackie
A wonderfully inspiring story of true neighborly love for each other, as Polacco recalls a time in her life when she, along with her grandparents, celebrated the miracle of Hanukkah. Hearing that their Christian neighbors had come down with scarlet fever, the Polacco family scurried to make their Christmas joyous, as well. Bringing trees, food, and ornaments to the families brought not only joy to them, but to the family giving them as well.

The Trees of the Dancing Goats is full of heart-warmin
...more
Becky
I enjoyed reading The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco. She is sharing yet another holiday memory with young readers in this picture book. The book opens simply,
At our farm just outside Union City, Michigan, we didn't celebrate the same holidays as most of our neighbors...but we shared their delight and anticipation of them just the same.

The story focuses on one holiday season when the town is hit by an epidemic, scarlet fever, I believe. The heroine's family is not sick, but, mos
...more
Connie
This is a very sweet story of... holidays, I guess, and neighborliness, presumably based upon an event in the author's life.

She and her family were preparing for Hanukkah when they realized that all their neighbors were sick with scarlet fever... and the kids were basically going to have no Christmas at all because they and their families were too sick to celebrate. Nobody wants to think of their friends as giving up their holiday, so Patricia's family, who was luckily all well, prepared small C
...more
Linda Lipko
I hoped to read all of Polacco's books in 2014, but alas fell short of that goal. Rich in detail and personal history, her books bring a rich meaning to family values.

As her beloved Babuska prepares for Hanukkah, her loving grandfather hand crafts lovely wooded animal toys. As her brother Ralph and she grow excited by the day, they relish the time when their school teacher mother will have two weeks to be with them on their grand parents Michigan farm.

On a cold winter night, when the snow is thi
...more
Milo
Nov 16, 2014 Milo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Milo by: Lindsay
Our family friend Lindsay recommended the story, she really liked the illustrations. We checked it out at the library. Mama thought it was really neat how the story showed ways we can share ourselves with others. Also, she liked the message that we can respect others and find friendship beyond our own personal religious and political perspectives. We talked about ways that we can show tolerance and kindness to those who are different. It is a good story to show this.
Shahar Eden
This book is about a girl named Trisha and her family and how they are celebrating Hanukkah. Trisha went to her best friend Cherry’s house, but when she gets there all of Cherry’s family was sick and pale. When she got home her mother said they all had scarlet fever. She also said that the whole town had it. Then she got an idea. They would make trees in baskets to cheer the town up... bringing holiday cheer to everyone. A great story to tell about friendship.
Tina Smith
This is a very heart warming book about a Jewish family (Russian speaking grandparents in the home) in the country during a winter when all their neighbors were ill with scarlet fever. So sweet what this family does to help their Christian friends to experience the joy of Christmas by bringing them little decorated Christmas trees since the sick had been unable to chop their own that year.
Julia
I always love how Patricia Polacco puts so much of her culture and own life and background into her stories. The colors she uses for all of her illustrations are amazing and the detail she puts into the people, the furniture, and the objects on each page just make it that much more real and it pulls the reader right into the story. Her stories are also very heartwarming and teach lessons to the reader about doing the right thing and making others happy even if it means giving something of your o ...more
Teri
Nice addition to my children's Christmas book collection. I really loved the message of this book and I think it is a good choice whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah.
LeeAnn
Polacco's Christmas books are a staple of the season in my elementary library. I think maybe this one is my favorite, but honestly, how could I possibly pick just one?
Jenny
This is a wonderful book based on Patricia Polacco's childhood. Her family is preparing to celebrate Hanukkah. Their neighbors are preparing for Christmas when they become very ill with scarlet fever. Polacco's family decorates and delivers trees and food to their neighbors...brightening everyone's holiday season. I love that it connects both celebrations...Hanukkah and Christmas. I love the kindness and generosity and neighborliness shown by all. I love that it, like many of Polacco's books is ...more
Sue Seligman
A beautiful story of friendship among families of different religions. Trisha is excited to be celebrating Hanukkah with her grandparents and mother, but around town, many of the families are stricken by a scarlet fever epidemic during the Christmas holidays. Trisha's grandparents think of a way to help these families during this most cherished family time. A wonderful story of sharing and friendship which shows that everyone should be able to live in peace and happiness despite their difference ...more
Jenny Young
Age:
Grades 1-3

Genre:
fiction

Diversity:
Religion

Illustrations:
Illustrations look like they were created with paint.

Personal response:
The book was sweet with the story about the love between neighbors and family. It compared the Jewish holiday traditions and Christmas traditions. The story also brings in a little excitement and uncertainty after the main character visits her friend's family (who have scarlet fever). The story shows the value of true friendship and benefits of family.

Curricular or pr
...more
Mrs. Tongate
A yearly must read. Eight days of Hanukkah, Babushka, menorah, latkes, shommas, miracle of true friendship, love of family, and the trees of the dancing goats.
Janet
This was a good combination of story and illustration. I always enjoy Polacco's illustrations when they are in the fol art tradition. This is a good story where the Jewish family mkes Christmas for the Protestant family who is ill with scarlet fever. the story also shows how rural farm families care for one another regardless of race, creed, or scoial economic status.

The two illustrations of the farm kitchen were especially appealing to me with the iron cooking stove, the ice tongs hanging above
...more
Kate Hastings
Grades 3-5. Love Patricia Polacco's family stories. This one happened when she was a young girl and a scarlet fever epidemic struck around Christmas time. Her family is Jewish and they loved their neighbors, so they brought decorated trees and baskets of food to them to try to brighten their holiday. When the neighbors started feeling better, they returned the favor with a visit and a homemade menorah. Love the message of compassion, tolerance and community. Beautiful illustrations as usual.
Brenna Johnson
Such a wonderful story about love between neighbors.
Luann
This seems like a strange title, but once you've read the story, it seems perfectly natural. I loved this story of a Jewish family who bring Christmas to their neighbors during a scarlet fever epidemic.

I don't understand why most of Polacco's books are considered fiction yet seem to be drawn completely from her life experiences. I guess it doesn't really matter, though. Fictionalized a little or fictionalized a lot, this is an excellent story to read around Christmas and/or Hanukkah.
Randie
Trisha's family celebrates the festival of lights while their neighbors celebrate Christmas. But when scarlet fever spreads amongst the neighbors, it is up to Trisha's family to do some cheering up.

I appreciate Trisha's perspective of the different celebrations and how regardless of beliefs/traditions, friendship trumps all. The illustrations are cozy.
Shelli
Touching story of one Jewish family that played Santa one year to their friends and neighbors when they would otherwise have missed the holiday season due to a scarlet fever epidemic. What I loved about this book was the mutual love and respect that was shown between people of different faiths.
Deborah
Polacco applies her distinctive style here to what at first seems the simple story of a Jewish girl, Trisha, and her Christian neighbors, whose bout with scarlet fever at Christmas threatens to ruin Trisha's Hanukkah. Trisha and her family respond with a loving gesture that is rewarded in kind.
Amanda
The tale is told from the author's memories as a young girl. With older elementary students you might discuss how stories can be used as first-hand research. What can we learn about rural life in the 1940's? What stories can your older relatives tell you about their childhood?
Jess
Dec 04, 2008 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3rd and up
This book tells of a little Jewish girl who is preparing for the holidays. Many of the neighbors are sick. Even though they don't celebrate Christmas they cut down trees and deliver them to the neighbors, decorated.
Linda
Patricia Polacco reaches into her memory and then puts pen and brush to paper. Delightful stories, beautiful illustrations - a favorite author/illustrator. The Trees of the Dancing Goats can be added to the list.
Julie
For our family, the holiday season means celebrating the birth of Christ, appreciating the glory of Nature, and devouring a delicious latke. Finally, a children's book that honors our cross-cultural holiday traditions.
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