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by Ann Hassett & illustrated by John Hassett

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 2005
ISBN: 0-618-50901-1
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Farmer Tuttle runs a Christmas tree farm in the New England mountains of the late 1950s, at the time when fake trees come into style. Suddenly no one wants his real trees any more, and he has no money to buy his wife her usual new Christmas hat. On the day before Christmas, the farmer receives a mysterious letter stating that a crew will be coming to cut the “finest tree in the forest.” That night Farmer Tuttle watches as “tiny figures” cut and load a huge tree into a sleigh, with partial views of reindeer and a man in a red plaid suit. They leave a woman’s Christmas hat behind in the snow as payment, and this tradition is repeated each year thereafter. The story is told in a taciturn, understated way in keeping with its New England setting, and the true identity of the tiny helpers and the man in the red suit are left unspoken for young readers to point out. The illustrations in wintry, cool tones have a naïve flavor with flattened perspective recalling the winter scenes of Grandma Moses. (Picture book. 4-7)