A little apple tree in a forest of oaks begs God for stars like those glimmering on the branches of the great oak trees beside her. As the seasons pass, she learns to appreciate her own gifts and realizes that it’s possible to find a star in each of us.
"A little apple tree wants to be like the other trees in the oak forest. It particularly longs to have stars, since the other trees have stars that dangle and shimmer on their branches at night. The tree asks God for stars, and in response, God tries to let the tree know how many other gifts it has already—including the ability to bear apples and provide shade. As the seasons pass, the tree discovers that it DOES have stars—just not the kind that other trees have. The ending is a surprise twist and the book includes a practical activity, which will appeal to the reader.
Like many young children, the apple tree covets the gifts that the other trees have been given. Based on a Jewish folktale, this lovely story encourages readers to believe in their unique gifts and strengths, rather than long to have someone else’s abilities or assets. The message is well delivered in an age-appropriate fashion. This book is beautifully written by famed storyteller and teacher, Peninnah Schram, and Rachayl Davis, also a storyteller and educator. The authors thank Rabbi Avi Weiss for having exposed them to this story in a Midrash workshop. Watercolor illustrations are whimsical and colorful and support the story perfectly. The Apple Tree’s Discovery can be used as a Tu B’Shvat or Earth Day resource. Highly recommended for children ages 5-8 as a read-to and as an independent read." --Jewish Book World —Magazine
"Storytellers Schram and Davis team up to tell a tale about how unfulfilled wishes can make one dissatisfied with one’s lot in life. Way down on the forest floor, a little apple tree looks up at the night sky and sees stars which, from its viewpoint, seem to be hanging off the branches of the tall oak trees surrounding it. Tapping into the universal desire to fit in and be like those around it, the apple tree cries out to God to give it stars, too, for only then will it feel special. God reminds the little tree of its own unique gifts which manifest themselves with the turn of every season: having fragrant blossoms, being a resting place for birds, offering shade for nature lovers, and, by autumn, bearing beautiful apples. Even after hearing these gentle reminders, the apple tree remains adamant in its desire for stars. Only then does God show the little arboreal dreamer that it possessed all along the object of its heart’s desire. Lee uses a palette of greens, browns, blues, and reds in her watercolor illustrations to bring this nature story to life. A simple emoticon-type smile makes up the little apple tree’s primary expression. This story was previously published in the anthology Chosen Tales: Stories Told by Jewish Storytellers edited by Peninnah Schram. A version of the story was also included in Apples and Pomegranates by Rahel Musleah. Recommended." --AJL Newsletter
"Well-known author and storyteller Peninnah Schram reminds us in her afterword to this charming fable: 'To find the star in the apple, you must turn it on its side and cut it in half. We must look hard to find the beautiful star in each of us, and sometimes it just takes a change of direction.' When a little apple tree notices that stars in the sky appear to be hanging from branches of the taller oak trees, she asks God to grant her wish to also have stars. Although God notes that her 'fragrant blossoms fill the air' and her 'branches offer a resting place for birds' she covets only what others have. But when God causes a wind to blow and suddenly her delicious apples hit the ground, they split open, exposing the beautiful star within. This sweet parable about appreciating God’s gifts and understanding our own uniqueness is a universal tale. It will be particularly memorable if you remember to read it before you slice those Rosh Hashanah apples — by turning them on their sides and finding that elusive star."--Jewish Journal —Magazine
Peninnah Schram is a storyteller, teacher, author, a recording artist, and a professor at Stern College of Yeshiva University. She is the author of many books of Jewish folktales and has recorded a CD of folktales, The Minstrel and the Storyteller. She has received many awards for her work including the Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Educator, The Circle of Excellence Award, and the National Storytellers Network Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rachayl Eckstein Davis is a storyteller, creative dramatist and educator. She received her BA in Education from Stern College where she was Peninnah Schram’s first student in a Storytelling program conducted at the 92nd Street Y. She received her MA in Educational Theater from New York University. Rachayl taught pre-school, ran a Hebrew Library program, directed dramatic productions in a Yeshiva high school, and for many years was a mainstay on the educational staff at Camp Morasha. She and her husband Hillel are planning to make aliya to live in Jerusalem in Fall, 2011.
Wendy Lee is a freelance illustrator based in Queens, New York. She has a B.F.A from Fashion Institute of Technology. She creates her cute and whimsical illustrations in watercolor.