At the Heart of the Orchard
Written by: Galit Raved
Illustrated by: Maya Shleifer
Sometimes, even the best of friends fight, until suddenly, at the heart of the orchard, they realize they no longer want to be alone in the shadows. This story is an Israeli tale of quarrels and peacemaking, imagination and reality, taking place in a magical Galilee orchard.
"Every man under his vine and under his fig-tree" (Micah, 4:4)
Sitting under fruit-bearing trees symbolizes good, quiet living, with each person having a piece of land to live on peacefully among their neighbors. However, even the best of friends and neighbors can sometimes end up in some form of conflict, unsure how the fight began, and wondering how to end it. In this splendid landscape, among the fruit Eretz Israel was blessed with, our three friends find a way to make up. Their concern for the injured fox helps them become friends again.
Proposed Family Activities:
- The breathtaking illustrations add another level to the story, and you may want to take a closer look at them. What is the fox doing on each page? How do the children's facial expressions alter throughout the story? Have you also noticed how the pond changes as pages are turned? Perhaps you would like to select your favorite part of the book, and draw it whichever way you like.
- You may enjoy role-playing, pretending to be one of the children's parents. It's night-time, and the children return from the orchard in high spirits. Perhaps you could ask them how their day at the orchard had been, and let them describe their experiences in their own words.
- Anything's possible when you use your imagination: carobs become swords, olives turn into delicious salads, and half a pomegranate serves as a royal crown! You may want to play the following game: pick an item and pretend to do something with it using nothing but gestures, no speaking allowed. Your child should try to guess what the item has become, and think up other uses for it when they have. Take turns picking items and guessing.
- Fighting and making up: after reading the story, you may want to discuss quarrels among friends, and share stories of fights and make-ups you have experienced. After fighting, each of the children in the book played on their own. You may wish to speak with your child about times when being alone is pleasant and desirable, and other times, when it is more fun to play together.
- Do you have an orchard, vineyard or forest nearby? You could take a walk in them together! Just like the children in the book, you could also pick olives, and squeeze oil out of them, play with carobs, or hide behind trees. You may also enjoy collecting leaves of all colors, and crushing them onto a sheet of paper when you return home. Discover the different color liquids that come out of them, and use them to paint naturally colored paintings.