Happy Evergreen Tree Day!
It’s less than one week until Christmas Eve. If you haven’t picked out your Christmas tree yet, today is a great day to do it!
Let’s begin with a brand new picture book.
The Last Christmas Tree written by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Pascal Campion (2014)
I love this new book! I reviewed it in November. FULL DISCUSSION HERE.
The littlest evergreen tells his own story about growing up on a hillside surrounded by other evergreens. His life begins as a tiny sprout shorter than the grass and the sparrows. He grew and grew, making homes for birds and mice. He drank water from the spring storms and slept under a blanket of winter snow. But in the autumn, he fears the sound of the chainsaw as tree after tree is cut down and hauled away on the back of a truck. Then one autumn day, the men came back. He was still too small to cut down, so they dug him up and bound his roots. Then somewhere far away, he was placed in the middle of a lot with other trees which had been cut. A family came by and took him home with them. They put him in a large pot and gave him a drink of water. Then they hung strings and little bits of glass and metal on his branches. That night he was surrounded by packages and ribbons. Soon he began to feel heavy and stuffy from being inside for so long, and the family finally took off all the decorations they had hung on him. The took him outside and planted him in a deep hole. He felt the coolness of the soil and grabbed hold. He grew for many years in that spot. The family came to visit him often. And birds, squirrels, and other animals make their nests in his branches. Now is is taller than the family, taller than the house, and stands proudly in the middle of the yard.
This story answers the question, ‘Who would like a Christmas tree?’. Every month of the year is claimed by one of the forest animals living near the Christmas tree farm. In January the chickadees eat eggs and spiders hidden under the bark of the tree. In February the field mice gnaw on the trunk of the tree. In March, the deer snack on the first year branches. In April, the woodcock sings in the tree. In May, the robin looks for food to take to their babies. In June, the aphids hatch on the needles of the tree. In July, the wildflowers bloom in the soil under the tree. In August, the butterflies hatch and eat the milkweed and the tree. In September, the spider spins her web in the branches and waits for food before she lays hundreds of eggs in the tree. In October, the red fox chases mice under the tree. In November, the turkeys hunt for food at the roots of the tree. In December, the children cut down the tree and take it home for Christmas.
The Littlest Christmas Tree written by R.A. Herman and illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers (2007)
The littlest tree in the Christmas tree lot had only one wish, to go home and be someone’s Christmas tree. He wanted to have someone decorate him and sing his favorite song. But no one coming to the Christmas tree lot seemed to want the littlest tree. Finally, on Christmas Eve, the owner of the lot took him home to his little boy. Together the little boy’s family hung lights, strung popcorn, and cut paper ornaments for the littlest Christmas tree. Then they all gathered around and sang the littlest tree’s favorite Christmas carol, Oh Christmas Tee.
The Finest Christmas Tree written and illustrated by John and Ann Hassett (2005)
Farmer Tuttle owned a Christmas tree farm. Every year, he sold the trees to everyone in town. And when he had sold them all, he always bought a new hat for Mrs. Tuttle. But one year no one wanted his trees, they all wanted plastic trees that can be used again year after year. So Farmer Tuttle took all his trees home, and didn’t buy a new hat for Mrs. Tuttle. Farmer Tuttle didn’t go back to the forest anymore. The next year someone offered to buy all his trees to make clothespins and toothpicks. Then he got a letter from a factory boss who wanted the finest tree in the forest for his Christmas party. But no one came for a tree, and Farmer Tuttle thought maybe they had decided to get a plastic tree too. So he walked into the forest and saw tiny footprints wandering from tree to tree. Then he heard the chopping of an ax. And he saw tiny figures lift the fallen tree and put it on the back of a sleigh. Farmer Tuttle stared as the sleigh lifted high above the treetops and flew through the night sky and was gone. And there where the tree had stood was a box with a beautiful Christmas hat for Mrs. Tuttle. Well, Farmer Tuttle didn’t sell his trees for clothespins and toothpicks. No, the trees still grow in the forest. And every year, children playing in the forest see tiny footprints in the snow and Mrs. Tuttle gets a new hat for Christmas every year.