Our Tree Named Steve (Hardcover) by Alan Zweibel; illustrated by David Catrow. Putnam, 2005. ISBN: 9780399237225. pp: 32.
Ages: 6-8, gr: 1-3
Paperback (February 15, 2007) Puffin, ISBN: 9780142407431

ArtExplosion

Summary

The tree was there when the family came to look at where their new house would be built. It was love at first sight for the children, especially for two-year-old Sari who called the tree Steve. So Dad asked the builder to save that tree as the land was being cleared for building. Steve became a part of the lives of each of the three children as they grew. Now Dad is writing to tell them that a storm hit Steve while they were visiting Grandma, and helping prepare them for the loss.

Activities

  1. Look at the picture on the last page of the story. Explain what Dad means by "and in a different tree at the other end of our yard." Look through the book for other places where the pictures add more to the story than just what the words tell.
    Note to the teacher: some students may miss the implication of Steve’s wood used for a new treehouse.

  2. List what the tree Steve did for the family (being a swing, jump rope holder, etc.)

  3. Class activity: Divide into groups to discuss uses of trees. As a class, list the similarities and differences between groups.

  4. What would you say to persuade someone that trees are important? Role play: you are talking with someone who wants to cut down all his trees; you are talking with someone who doesn’t understand why people should plant trees.

  5. Dad wrote a letter to the children to tell them about Steve. Pretend you are Steve and write a letter to the children thanking them for all the fun times you had together.

  6. Draw two lines to divide a large sheet of drawing paper into four panels. Label the spaces with the names of the four seasons. Draw a picture in each panel to illustrate what happens to a tree in that season, showing the changes it goes through.

  7. Make a tree collage.
  8. Learn about Arbor Day.

  9. Choose a tree in the area that stands out.
    • Interview someone who lives nearby asking what they think the tree has "seen". Use the interview to write a story about the tree.
    • Identify the tree using a key. online example
    • Photograph the tree and press a leaf, then make a poster using the tree photo and a scan of the dried leaf.
  10. Learn how scientists determine how old a tree is by counting the rings.
    To the teacher: Grade 4 lesson plan

  11. Pretend you are one of the children in the book and think about how would you react to Dad’s note. Discuss in class.

  12. Draw what your perfect tree would look like.

About the Author

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Assessment

Our Tree Named Steve. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #84072 EN; Book Level 3.2; Points= 0.5