Monday, December 19, 2016

Picture Book Monday with a review of The Christmas Eve Tree

Christmas is less than a week away, and people all over the world are putting up and decorating their Christmas trees. There is something magical about seeing a tree, decorated with tinsel and ornaments, its lights shining in the darkness. Today's picture book is about a Christmas tree that ends up lightning up Christmas for those who need the light the most.

The Christmas Eve TreeThe Christmas Eve Tree
Delia Huddy
Illustrated by Emily Sutton
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Candlewick Press, 2015, 978-0-7636-7917-0
Years ago a grove of Christmas trees was planted. One of the little fir trees was blown sideways into its neighbor by the wind and did not grow properly. When the trees were harvested the little fir tree, which was “stunted” and “tangled with its neighbor” was taken to the big city. The other trees were bought and placed in a cathedral, in the middle of a square, on the stage “at a grand Christmas ball,” and in private homes where children and their families decorated them for the festive season. The little fir tree and its bigger partner ended up in a store. On Christmas Eve the big tree was bought and taken away and the little fir tree was now all alone.
   A poor boy came into the shop to warm up and he asked a store clerk, who was about to throw away the little tree, if he could have it. The clerk “handed it over,” and some time later the boy, with the tree ‘planted’ in a cardboard box full of beach mud, was sitting under the arch of a railway bridge, in the large cardboard box that served as his home. With a coin that a passerby dropped in his hat the boy bought some candles and matches and he decorated the little tree with the candles, creating a little pool of Christmas spirit in a rather bleak place.
   The boy was joined by other homeless people and a tree performer and soon they were all sharing Christmas songs, which drew more and more people to the little tree. Though the tree’s surroundings were very humble, it felt as if it would “burst with happiness” because for a while the hard circumstances of the boy’s life did not matter. For a while the tree gave the boy and many other people joy.
   In this beautiful picture book readers will find a story that is sure to become a firm favorite with readers of all ages. This is the kind of book that families will keep on their shelf and bring out every holiday season to share and enjoy.

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