Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
"The Old Patriarch Tree: An Ancient Teton Pine Shares Stories of the American West is an educational historical storybook for children written by Tana S. Holmes and illustrated by Mahfuja Selim. Families have patriarchs, defined as the oldest living males in each family, and Grand Teton National Park has its own patriarch -- The Patriarch Tree, considered to be 1500 years old. And if a tree could talk, what stories this ancient Teton Pine could share with young listeners! It could speak about the Shoshone people who shared the land with it for centuries; the eventual appearance of explorers, scouts and guides; and then trappers eager to find fur-bearing animals, especially the beaver. It could speak of the missionaries who traveled through, and the settlers who built houses and started farming the land or raised cattle. And then, finally, the establishment of Grand Teton National Park as a place where nature is preserved for generations to appreciate and enjoy.
The book teaches kids history through a talking tree, The Old Patriarch Tree in Grand Teton National Park. Holmes includes detailed historical facts on each page under the heading Readers Guidance, suggesting that parents and caregivers decide whether the information given in small print is age-appropriate for their young listeners. I enjoyed the history lessons given by The Old Patriarch and found learning history in this fashion to be painless and ultimately rewarding. Tana S Holmes lets history unfold, just like the stories an old patriarch would tell. I appreciated the greater depth afforded in the Readers Guidance sections and understood the need for parental decisions on those sections. Mahfuja Selim’s illustrations work perfectly with the premise of this book. I loved the cartoon effects she uses to bring The Old Patriarch and other characters to life. The backgrounds of each panel are magnificent, especially those showing the Grand Teton Mountains and other natural features found in the area. Occasionally, one discovers a book that entertains as it educates. The Old Patriarch Tree is most highly recommended."
"I found this book fun, engaging, and educational. I loved the reader’s guide. There were so many interesting things I didn’t know. This is a book children and adults will learn from and love!!
Tana Holmes does a fantastic job sharing all this wise old Alamo Tree knows. Can’t wait for the next one!"
"I recently purchased ALAMO TREE to read to my kids as a fun way to share with them the story of the Alamo. It was so well written. I loved how it had extra history included for the adults that weren't a part of the actual story. It gave me more context that I could choose to share or not with my kids. Great to keep it shorter when I'm just trying to get my kids to bed--or longer for when I want to teach them more details about history. I love the premise of using a tree to tell the story of what happened on the land where it grows. My kids were totally involved in the story and loved it and it created the conversation where they told me the things they had already learned--and thanks to the extra info for parents included I had even more details I could add. Great story with great illustrations!"
Marcy Pusey- "Gittle List" Award-Winning Children's Author of
According to Corban
and Speranza's Sweater says
"Such a great book on so many levels!"
"This is a fantastic book. The first of which I hope will be a lengthy series. The idea of trees telling their stories is brilliant- a way for kids to learn our history in a safe way. I appreciated the optional text on the bottom of many pages with additional facts. I also love that we can read this book, and then actually go visit the tree and historic site. Even as an adult, having been raised with stories of the Alamo, I learned new facts. While it might be hard for some children to know that people perished in this battle, the author handles it with care and appropriately, letting kids know the tragedy without it being too heavy. Could easily be part of a homeschool curriculum or even support traditional school curriculum on American history."
Miki Conn- Panel Member for Arts in Education grants - New York State Council on the Arts says,
"What a great idea to link learning about history with history trees. This first of a series is about the Alamo and is written in rhyme. The children's format limits the amount of detail the author can delve into, but it's good for getting started."
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2020 GOODREADS--5 out of 5 stars- Sharon Sanderson
"Since the setting is in the place I’ve spent my entire life I know that the history is accurate. I love that children can be exposed to this great part of our country. The beauty of it, the diversity of its nature, along with its fascinating history. It can become a lifetime study. I’m excited that youngsters everywhere can be introduced to these things and perhaps be motivated to learn more through more study and a desire to personally visit this part of our amazing country - A visit to the Patriarch Tree on the next family vacation! Share this book with others in your family and friend community and plan to go ! You’ll love our home."
Serena Rivera- Gigi's Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center therapist says,
"I absolutely adore the concept and material within this story! It’s such a great way to teach history to a child. This story is a great guide for a parent or educator who wants to begin teaching history to their child/children. It was not only a great refresher but also taught me some things! Will definitely be following this series!"
Vibrant illustrations make this story about New Orleans even more engaging. Simple rhymes on the top of the page move quickly for little kids, but more detailed reader guidance on the bottom provide real history for older kids. A great book for anyone who wants to learn more about New Orleans!