The Old Patriarch Tree

An Ancient Teton Pine Shares Stories of the American West (The History Tree Series Book 2)

Children - Educational
15 Pages
Reviewed on 06/28/2020
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Author Biography

Tana Holmes was raised in the mountains and windswept plains of Wyoming. Her early years spent in the shadow of the Tetons and roaming Yellowstone and Shoshone National Forest formed her love of history and nature. Archaeological digs and river-chilled watermelon every weekend were a great way to grow up! As an adult, Tana is an award-winning thirty-year professional public school educator, a mom, and still a nature lover.
Authorship of The History Tree Series started as a concept introduced by her daughter, Tori, while walking the battlefield at San Jacinto, Texas. They brainstormed that a talking tree as an eyewitness to history-making events was a great way to engage children in learning and loving their heritage. Her debut History Tree was Alamo Tree. Now as more volumes in the series release, Tana anticipates an opportunity to reach children globally with their own local “celebritree” story teller. Visit her and the History Trees at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Old Patriarch Tree: An Ancient Teton Pine Shares Stories of the American West is an educational historical storybook for children written by Tana S. Holmes and illustrated by Mahfuja Selim. Families have patriarchs, defined as the oldest living males in each family, and Grand Teton National Park has its own patriarch -- The Patriarch Tree, considered to be 1500 years old. And if a tree could talk, what stories this ancient Teton Pine could share with young listeners! It could speak about the Shoshone people who shared the land with it for centuries; the eventual appearance of explorers, scouts and guides; and then trappers eager to find fur-bearing animals, especially the beaver. It could speak of the missionaries who traveled through, and the settlers who built houses and started farming the land or raised cattle. And then, finally, the establishment of Grand Teton National Park as a place where nature is preserved for generations to appreciate and enjoy.

The book teaches kids history through a talking tree, The Old Patriarch Tree in Grand Teton National Park. Holmes includes detailed historical facts on each page under the heading Readers Guidance, suggesting that parents and caregivers decide whether the information given in small print is age-appropriate for their young listeners. I enjoyed the history lessons given by The Old Patriarch and found learning history in this fashion to be painless and ultimately rewarding. Tana S Holmes lets history unfold, just like the stories an old patriarch would tell. I appreciated the greater depth afforded in the Readers Guidance sections and understood the need for parental decisions on those sections. Mahfuja Selim’s illustrations work perfectly with the premise of this book. I loved the cartoon effects she uses to bring The Old Patriarch and other characters to life. The backgrounds of each panel are magnificent, especially those showing the Grand Teton Mountains and other natural features found in the area. Occasionally, one discovers a book that entertains as it educates. The Old Patriarch Tree is most highly recommended.