A Christmas story about gratitude, adapted from a Hans Christian Andersen tale.
The eponymous little fir tree is discontented in the forest, especially when it sees other, bigger trees being cut down to build cabins and ships. People and animals alike praise the tree for its beauty, but it remains dissatisfied. Then the tree is cut down, and it goes to a home where people (all of whom appear white in the naïve illustrations) decorate it for Christmas. Here, the tree feels proud and wishes the woodland animals could see it. It also enjoys listening to a story—a moment that offers readers an intertextual reference to “The Snow Queen.” But when the decorations are removed, the fir tree doesn’t understand that it’ll be taken outside and put into a shed the next day. This fate brings sadness again, but the tree is eventually gladdened when children return it out-of-doors. Its limbs lacking the needles it once had, the tree glories in the fresh air and sunshine, seemingly happy to be outside. Where the original story ends dismally for the tree, Corr is kinder, building in a subtle circle-of-life arc. The final sentence notes that a squirrel’s larder, which presumably includes the fir tree’s cones, allows a new tree to grow. Throughout, opaque, daub-y paintings with a folk-art sensibility enliven the storytelling but do little to expand on the details of the text.
A Christmas tree-t. (Picture book. 3-6)