The same spiffy, crisply rendered animals who got their signals amusingly crossed in Hutchins' Surprise Party (KR, 1968) overcome another misunderstanding, this one concerning the silver star that appears one night to glorify Squirrel's surprise Christmas tree but can't be seen the next morning. Discovering Rabbit, Mouse, Fox and Duck each in the act of hiding a package, Squirrel assumes that one of them has his star. On Christmas, he hides his disappointment on receiving instead a blanket, a duster, a cake and a basket, then presents his friends with their ""gift"" of the decorated tree -- just as the clouds part, the snow begins to fall, and the star returns to make the communal gift truly resplendent. Hutchins' familiar combination of springtime freshness and fall colors is not what the usual Christmas book is made of, and even the tree is not the conventional evergreen (though its bare branches do signify winter). But Squirrel's natural decorations (holly and ivy, pine cones and nuts, dried wheat and mistletoe) put any other trimming (whether from Woolworth's or Jensen's) to shame, and that final glow of star light, snow flakes and friendship leaves no doubt that Christmas is in the air.