Thoughts on “The Abba Tree” by Devora Busheri and Gal Shkedi
How do you feel when you hear the world “infotainment”? Some people have positive association with it, because they believe that is an effective way to educate people. Others feel that it is diluting education and is a waste of time compared to old(er) school methods. I am somewhere in the middle: if it is done well it doesn’t matter as long as it works.
I admired “The Abba Tree”, because it hit a great balance of teaching while providing a fun experience for kids (and me too, an “adult”.) The “content”–to use a word currently re- and mis-appropriated by marketing industry–was simple: a classic Talmud story and the description of three different kinds of trees. These in themselves can sound boring to those who are not interested in these topics. But weaved into the story and depicted with gorgeous illustrations became hidden in plain sight.
Gal Shkedi, the book’s illustrator is an Israeli animator who “has developed a beautifully composed style” and is “always pushing simplicity to its most aesthetically powerful limits.” These were quotes from his own website and I couldn’t have described it any better. His videos, mostly short commercials, are really fun to watch. His drawing for this book follows his usual, simple style, but it still has plenty of small adorable details. They represent both the perspective of a young girl and the loving father-daughter relationship that is a prerequisite for making such a story authentic.
I will definitely read this book to my daughter when the book comes out. I feel she will love it although I might have to work out more to be the kind of Abba/Dad that is in the book. Why? You will have to read the book to figure the answer out.
The book will be published on December 1, 2020 and you can already pre-order it at Amazon.
Hannah and Abba―Hebrew for “Dad”―are spending time together in nature on Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish Arbor Day. As Abba rests under a carob tree, Hannah declares that she wants to climb a tree. The carob tree’s trunk is too skinny, but can she climb a eucalyptus tree or a pine tree or an olive tree? When each poses a challenge―for being too scratchy, for not having footholds―Abba offers new inspiration for climbing and insight into what Hannah and the carob tree share in common.
Disclaimer: I have received an electronic copy of this book from Kar-Ben Publishing, the publisher for review.
Year first published: 2020