The Trees Of The Dancing Goats

by Patricia Polacco

Other authorsPatricia Polacco (Illustrator)
Book, 1996



Call number

E 247 POL



Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (1996), Edition: 1st, 32 pages


During a scarlet fever epidemic one winter in Michigan, a Jewish family helps make Christmas special for their sick neighbors by making their own Hanukkah miracle. Based on a memory from the author's childhood.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The eight days of Hanukkah had always been one of Trisha's favorite times of the year. Her Ukrainian-born Babushka would make hand-dipped candles for the Menorah, and cook delicious latkes. Her Georgian-born Grandpa would carve colorful animals out of wood - presents for Trisha and her brother,
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Richard. Best of all, Momma would have two weeks off from her job as a school-teacher, and the entire family would be together on their Michigan farm! But when Trisha and her family learn that most of the members of their small farming community have been stricken with scarlet fever, and are unable to prepare for or celebrate their own holiday - that of Christmas - they decide to share the joy of the season with their neighbors...

Apparently based on an actual event from Patricia Polacco's own youth, The Trees of the Dancing Goats is a heart-warming holiday tale that emphasizes the importance of friendship and community, of sharing our blessings with others, and respecting diverse beliefs. I found myself tearing up, as I reached the conclusion. Truly a wonderful book, one that can be appreciated by those who celebrate Hanukkah, those who celebrate Christmas, those who celebrate both, and those who don't celebrate either one.
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LibraryThing member eggiovanetti
This book was about a girl named Trisha and her family who are Jewish. They are celebrating their holiday with all the customs, when all of their neighbors come down with a terrible fever. Trisha and her family decide to help them celebrate their holiday by putting Christmas trees in all of their
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front yards. This story is about neighbors loving each other and showing compassion during the Holidays.
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LibraryThing member kcsutherland
Trisha comes from a Jewish background, and all of her family is with her to celebrate the holidays. Her Christian neighbors are unable to decorate for Christmas due to scarlet fever. Trisha and her family find it difficult to celebrate Hanukkah knowing their neighbors cannot celebrate their
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holiday. Trisha and her family come together and help decorate their neighbors house for Christmas. It is a celebration of friendship.
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LibraryThing member elizabethwallmacht
Subjects/Content Studies/AASL Standards:
Family, Friendship, Helping Others, Christmas and Hanukkah Traditions.
LibraryThing member alprince
This is a book about a child who enjoys the time of Hanukkah because her family gets to spend lots of time together. They decorate, cook, and their grampa makes them gifts. When the little girl realizes that her neighbors are sick in bed with scarlett fever as were a lot of people in her town. The
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little girl's family is blessed enough to not have this sickness. The family could not enjoy their meal because they felt bad for their neighbors so they wanted to do something about it. The family decided they would cut down trees, decorate them, and then secretly deliver them. They used the wood pieces grampa was making to decorate the trees. As the book unfolded so do many miracles. This is a good book for the holiday time. I would use this book for children in third or forth grade to expose them to different types of holidays.
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LibraryThing member conuly
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
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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 Christmas trees for their neighbors and decorated them with the wooden toys they'd made for their own Hanukkah.

This is exactly the example of charity that's right for kids to learn about. You do something nice for people because it's the right thing to do, and you do it gladly. You don't bemoan giving up your things, and you don't expect a reward (although they get one in the form of their neighbors continuing to be good friends.)

A good message for any time of year, whatever your beliefs.
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LibraryThing member ahernandez91
Trisha and her family were setting up their Hanukkah festivities when realizing that their surrounding neighbors were all sick with Scarlett Fever. The other families were not Jewish and did not celebrate Hanukkah, but they celebrated Christmas and were not able to prepare for the upcoming holiday.
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Trisha and her family did not want to see their neighbors not be able to celebrate Christmas this season, so they decorated Christmas trees with their own wooden toys placing the trees in the neighbors yards. Trisha and her family also prepared food for their sick neighbors. This book is great to read around the holidays to show what the real spirit of the holiday is. This is a season of giving and helping others in need. It teaches students that when they give to others they should be happy doing so and shouldn't expect anything in return. Great book for teaching kindness and giving.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
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
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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 thick and white, the family learns that their Christian neighbors are ill with Scarlet Fever. Extending love and kindness, the family finds small trees to decorate with the hand carved animals. Delivering the gifts during the snow storm, leaves them with a warm feeling.

When the neighbors are better, they provide a hand-made Menorah.

The best thing about not reaching my goal, is that there are so many more wonderful books of this author to cherish and read in 2015.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I dunno. Yes it's an important message and all, but to me it's more of a 'should read' than a 'want to read' - like so many of the 'classics' we were pushed to read in school. Neither the pictures, the story, or the idea charmed or delighted me. Sorry.
LibraryThing member NMiller22
During a scarlet-fever epidemic one winter in Michigan, a Jewish family helps make Christmas special for their sick neighbors.
LibraryThing member klsulliv
I really enjoyed this book. I love the message of true friendship that is portrayed in this story. Trisha's best friend, Cherry, and Cherry's family, are sick with a terrible fever. Trisha's family seemed to recognize the pattern of many of the families around their neighborhood were coming down
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with the same fever which was preventing them from celebrating Christmas. Trisha was told by Cherry that her family would miss out on Christmas because they have not put up a tree. She was scared that Santa would forget her and her family. Trisha and her family celebrated Hanukkah, she and her family decided to cut down and decorate Christmas trees for all of the families that could not celebrate their holiday tradition. This was very touching because not many people would sacrifice their own traditions by putting it off for a little while to practice something they do not normally do, like decorating a Christmas tree. This is a valuable lesson for children (and adults) to learn because everyone, no matter how different their beliefs are, should be accepted. Trisha's family did not scorn Cherry and the others because they did not celebrate the same holiday as them. This book also teaches about traditions. Many of us who did not really know what Hanukkah is or why it came to be, can learn a little bit of its history from this story. It id important to understand that everyone is not really that different; yes we may believe different things, and practice different rituals, but in the end, we all have feelings and want some of the same things. And when people accept others, that is when we are truly all brought together.
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Original language


Physical description

32 p.; 11 inches


0689808623 / 9780689808623
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