Joshua’s Bookshelf!: Curious George Plants a Tree, by Monica Perez

[This review is based on the hardcover edition published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2009.]

So what’s it about?
The Man With the Yellow Hat and Curious George take a field trip to their local science museum. They check out the day’s special exhibit entitled, “How YOU Can Take Care of Our Planet”, and learn about the environment and what we can do to keep it strong and healthy. On their way out, George literally runs into Dr. Lee, the museum director, who tells them about the next day’s Green Day rally, during which participants can plant trees and recycle paper. Upon their return home, George sets about collecting lots of paper, including books from his own bookshelf that aren’t ready to be recycled; the next morning he collects more paper items en route to the rally, not realizing that these items were actually being used by other people. Everyone follows him to the rally, angry that George has stolen their things, but The Man With the Yellow Hat explains George’s good intentions and all is forgiven. Everyone plants trees and recycles together, and then they celebrate the overwhelming success of Green Day!

What did we think of the book?
I pulled this book from Joshua’s shelf in honor of Earth Day, which fell on Tuesday. He’s a huge fan of Curious George — we watch the cartoon on PBS Kids almost daily — so the characters were already familiar to him, and he knows that George is a bit of an accidental troublemaker as well. We got a good laugh out of George’s overzealous recycling efforts and clapped when the whole neighborhood came together to do good things for the Earth at the end of the story. Joshua may be too young to understand the relationship between trees and clean oxygen, but he’s definitely old enough to comprehend the concept of recycling. We don’t currently recycle paper in our house (boo on us!), but we do recycle plastic and aluminum — and Joshua LOVES to help. Right now, all of our recyclables go in one bin; however, after reading this book I may start having him sort them by material into separate bins. (Yay for developing math concepts!)

Would we add it to Joshua’s bookshelf?
Curious George Plants a Tree was already on Joshua’s shelf (I had it from an Earth Day lesson I did as a preschool teacher), and it’s staying right where it is. We love this book and will continue to read it every Earth Day! This is a great book for any young or school-age child, and there are tons of science and math activities (planting trees/flowers/herbs/whatever and sorting recyclable materials being just the tip of the iceberg) to do in conjunction with it. We love it and it’s a keeper!