THE COAT-HANGER CHRISTMAS TREE by Eleanor Estes

THE COAT-HANGER CHRISTMAS TREE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Marianna's problem is her mother -- not a modern fictional mother with hang-ups and a personality of her own, but a somewhat eccentric old-fashioned dispenser of orders and permissions, whose chief flaw is her longstanding opposition to Christmas trees and other holiday trappings. Because Mama does not want to be like ""every tom-dick-and-harry"" -- Marianna, almost ten, has never had a tree. This year, figuring that a tree in every room of the house would be allowed as something different, she enlists her school friend Allie, who lives on a barge but has a tree on it, to help her drag home a total of six trees that had been discarded by neighboring college students. But Mama -- whose insensitive individuality is never really explained -- can't be moved, and Marianna has to settle for a coat-hanger tree that pleases Mama because Marianna made it herself. Marianna's innocent logic and single-track determination has some of the old Estes child's-eye charm and none of the tiresome foolishness of The Tunnel of Hugsy Goode (KR, 1971), but The Tunnel's anachronistic ambience still pervades (for specifics, Allie wears a zip-on maxicoat but Mama says goldurn and ""tell that to the marines"" -- but it's not just the specifics), and this is strictly a seasonal trimming, to be packed away when the Christmas time nostalgia is past.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1973
Publisher: Atheneum