Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
If you read no other book recommendation from my blog this year, be sure to check out The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree (c. 1988), by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, to read to the kids! It's a timeless story that sings the spirit of Christmas.
Barbara Cooney is not only one of our family's favorite illustrators, she's America's beloved illustrator, illustrator of over one hundred childrens' books and recipient of two Cladecott Medals. So glance over the illustrations, and you'll find that they speak for themselves.
In addition, acclaimed author Gloria Houston retells this heartwarming Appalachian story as it was passed down from her grandmother and mother.
So what's this perfect tale about? Let's read what the publishers have to say: "The Armistice has been declared, but still there is no sign of Ruthie's father in their little Appalachian town. So, in accordance with the traditions of Pine Grove, it falls to Ruthie and her mother to bring home the perfect Christmas tree to donate to the town. Ruthie had accompanied her father to the rocky cliff where he marked a tree in the spring, so she and her mother set out to find it again, and haul it home. Their trip becomes the basis overnight of a new town legend; [meanwhile] Ruthie [is] chosen for the role of the heavenly angel in the the church Christmas play . . ."
However, while Ruthie's father is away at war, many of the income earning responsibilities cannot be accomplished by Ruthie or her mother. So they scrimp where they can, leaving the question of an angel's costume and a Christmas gift for Ruthie an unattainable wish. Find out what happens to all these dilemmas in the story's joy filled ending. Just be sure have a tissue ready to wipe those tears.