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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2020
  • 9781733913065
  • 32 pages
  • $11.99
The Perfect Christmas Tree
In the middle of a beautiful forest is a grove full of young pine trees. Their father gives them advice and shares his unusual plan on how to grow up and avoid being cut down by humans, taken out of the forest, and decorated as Christmas trees for their holiday. All the young pine trees follow their father's advice except for Little Stevie who cares more about how he looks. He refuses to listen to his father and grows up to become a beautiful tree. One winter's day, humans arrive with their saws and axes looking for the perfect Christmas tree. They spot beautiful Little Stevie who quickly realizes how foolish and vain he has been all this time. Will Little Stevie learn a lesson before it is too late? Can He escape the saws and axes?
Reviews
In this seasonal picture book, Pellico explores what chopping down the perfect Christmas tree looks like from the evergreen’s point of view. Unlike human children, the trees see Christmas as a time of terror, as they risk being hacked down and hauled away from their home and family. To avoid this fate, one wise pine implores its children to grow up ugly, with twisted branches and bald spots. But a tree named Little Stevie is determined to be tall and beautiful, even as his siblings heed their father’s advice. When a human family arrives that winter with saws and axes in hand, Stevie risks paying a stiff price for his vanity.

This book’s two-part message is fairly straightforward: It’s always best to listen to your parents, and relationships are more important than pride. The way this lesson is delivered will leave some particularly inquisitive youngsters with questions – many families view getting a Christmas tree as a joyous tradition, but the trees in this tale aim to avoid becoming a holiday centerpiece all costs, making the human family seem almost villainous by comparison. After he “learns his lesson,” Little Stevie also has a fortuitous encounter with a gnomish, magical mystery man who bursts up out of the ground, which some older kids will find more confusing than cute.

Malane Newman’s vibrant illustrations are sweet and charming, softening the tale’s somewhat menacing undertones. The trees have human-like faces and arms, allowing them to communicate with each other and express emotions that children will recognize, while still remaining verdantly tree-like. On the whole, younger kids will enjoy this book about accepting parental advice and learning the drawbacks of selfishness and arrogance – though parents should be prepared to assuage any concerns it may spark, particularly the downside of ephemeral displays of festivity and what it means to be “ugly” in the first place.

Takeaway: Told from a tree’s point of view, this curious seasonal picture book will help young kids learn the importance of accepting parental advice.

Great for fans of: Leslie Crawford’s Spring the Rescue Pig, Loren Long’s Little Tree.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: B+
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2020
  • 9781733913065
  • 32 pages
  • $11.99

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