Monday, March 21, 2011

The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous

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Last night, we read "The Egg Tree" by Katherine Milhous as our first book selection from our Easter book list.  You can see the entire list here.

The first thing that I love about this book is that it is so "Pennsylvanian"!  The author just adores the Pennsylvania Dutch and uses this community, it's heritage and it's images, in her story and illustrations all thoughout the book--illustrations which earned her the 1951 Caldecott Medal.

Although the book is not overly religious and does not mention Christ, this simple story alludes to a religious tradition that permeates the family.  I really like the synopsis that I found online which says, 

"As I noted, The Egg Tree is not really about the biblical Easter story; rather, it is centrally about the egg tree tradition and the coming of spring.  However, an acute observer will notice hints of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Anabaptist religious roots of the Pennsylvania Dutch.  For example, church bells ring in the distance on Easter morning, and Grandmom puts off decorating more eggs until the day after Easter, since Easter is not a day for work.  “Today we keep Easter,” she explains.  The names of the traditional egg designs also draw on biblical imagery.  For example, “The Bright Morning Star” is a term applied to Christ in Rev. 22.16, “The Deer on the Mountain” is an image from Psalm 18.33, and images of “Pomegranates” were used to decorate the Israelite priests’ robes (Ex. 28.33) and the pillars in Solomon’s temple (1 Ki. 7.20).  Thus, the book can also serve as a beginning point for discussions about the biblical Easter tradition for families that are so inclined."


"Finally, this picture book might also becatalyst for Easter artwork.  Milhous helpfully includes instructions for making an Easter egg tree on the back cover of the book, so you have no excuse not to make an egg tree of your own!"

And we did, in fact, use this artful book as a catalyst for creating our own Egg Tree, only we decorated our tree with images of Christ that we cut out of magazines.

Note to you dear reader:  You can do this...tonight...for Family Home Evening.

All you need is old church magazines, tree branches, scissors, glue, and string!

Our whole family really enjoyed scouring church and craft magazines for images that reminded us of Christ as well as pictures of Jesus.  For the egg ornaments, we glued images to the egg-shapes (both front and back), then we punched a hole in the top and hung it with ribbon. I found the egg shapes online and printed it on card stock.  I printed two sizes.  You can print out the same egg template here.

Here are a couple of the images that the kids chose to remind us of Christ:


Captive Israelites painting their doors (with the blood of an unblemished lamb) 
for the first "Passover".  A light symbolizing Christ as the light of the world.

The new life we each find in Christ.

We also have eggs with pictures of The Prodigal Son, clay in the master's hands, a lamb, scriptures, folded arms in prayer, a boy on the phone (calling to invite someone to church), Joseph Smith, a heart, Christ's triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, the Resurrected Lord, and Christ standing at the door knocking.

The branches that Guy chose have the longest and sharpest thorns that I have ever seen.  At first, I didn't want to use them for this project, but it turns out that the thorns are just one more reminder of our Savior...So there you have our very symbolic egg tree! :)

When it's all finished, you can put it in a vase in sand like we did.

Have fun!


This winner of our Giveaway from Modern Verses is LORENE!!!

Be of Good Cheer 8 x 10 Modern Print
Email me please, Lorene, to arrange to receive your prize!


  1. Love this craft Jocelyn. Thanks for sharing it...if we can't do it for FHE tonight it will definitely go on our list of things to do for Easter.

  2. That is an awesome craft. It sure keeps the kids busy and having fun.

  3. What a cool idea and fun activity for kids. You have a book with all your neat ideas for families to use...

  4. Love the idea for the ornaments. We'll skip the egg shape - we don't use egg, bunny, or chickie things at Easter - but we can do round or square ornaments. Time to grab the old Friend Magazines.....

    Thank you!

  5. I love how you incorporate these holiday books into FHE crafts. What great preparations you guys make for Easter and Christmas in this way.


  6. These are great books, I have some of them. I think I need to move closer to my grandkids so I can make fun things.

  7. Oh my goodness, what an awesome craft! I love that beautiful picture of the egg tree. Now I wanna copy for my kids! ;)

  8. I wish I had been more creative with my kids when they were young. Good for you! Well done!

  9. What a wonderful idea! Thank you for the inspiration!

  10. Finally a use for all of those old Friend magazine's I can't bear to throw away! We are prepping for a big move in the next few weeks, so no crafting for us. However, I can see we will have a lot to do to get ready for Easter in our new home!

  11. I've been looking for an Easter tree in all of the craft stores. I love this ides of making a tree on my own that reminds me and my family of the true meaning of Easter! Thank you, Jocelyn!

  12. Very cool, you are so awesome

  13. this is such a lovely idea, we just made a few and my 4 year old loved it! I am going to use this on Sunday for sharing time. (We don't watch conference live)

    1. Wonderful! Where do you live, Marie? I'd love to see your tree! :)