The Trees of the Dancing Goats

The Trees of the Dancing Goats

by Patricia Polacco

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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 Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha's family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won't be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, "But what can we decorate them with?" Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa's carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season.
Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689811937
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 10/28/1997
Edition description: Paperback & CD
Pages: 32
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 9.84(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

About the Author

Patricia Polacco belongs to a family of storytellers, poets, farmers, teachers, and artists. They came from many parts of the world, but mainly Russia. She grew up to be an illustrator, a designer, and creator of many beloved children’s books, including The Keeping Quilt, The Blessing Cup, Fiona’s Lace, The Trees of the Dancing Goats, Babushka’s Doll, and My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother. She lives in Union City, Michigan. Visit her at and follow her on Facebook.

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The Trees of the Dancing Goats 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
ahernandez91 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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. 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.
conuly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
klsulliv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
alprince on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
BookWorldBabe More than 1 year ago
As the #1 Patricia Polacco fan, I bought this book with huge expectations, which were of course met! Beautiful, sweet story with absolutely gorgeous illustrations, it's not just for children to enjoy but the whole family! And it makes the perfect Christmas present. Definitely buy this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful story of love and acceptance between families with different religions and traditions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I started reading this book I thought it looked boring by the cover but when I read it, it was a wonderful book. Patricia had a good imagination in writing this book because she put in the story the grandpa carved dancing goats and hung them on a tree. This story also has a lot of traditions. This book teaches a lot about friendship and love. In the story, the little girl was happy that her mother was coming to see her but the mother got sick. At the end, the mother got better. The mother cared about others and she was the reason why I chose this book to write about. This story had some hard words like Hanukkah and Spizerinkto but it was still fun to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a third grade teacher, I found this story to be an incredibly touching and humanistic vehicle in order to discuss both the traditions of Chanukah and Christmas. This loving story is about people who know the true meaning of giving. It is one of the best holiday books written to demonstrate to children that we are put on earth to help and care for one another (without regard for religion or race). I can guarantee reading this book during the holidays will be a moving experience for young and old alike. Bravo Patricia!!!