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How the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Came to New York City

by George Matteson, Adele Ursone, illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-618-99215-7
Publisher: Clarion

A girl joins her tugboat-captain dad (along with her mom) on a family trip as they tow a barge with a gigantic Christmas tree and some immense ornaments into New York City for the holiday display at Rockefeller Center.

The unnamed girl narrates the longish story in first person, detailing how her dad operates the tugboat and how they eat and sleep during their special overnight trip. The tugboat pulls the barge around the tip of Manhattan and into New York Harbor, past a tour boat, police boats and a fireboat shooting jets of water to welcome the Christmas tree delivery. Ransome’s polished illustrations are the best part of the book, capturing all the different boats and scenes of New York City with glowing backgrounds at sunrise or sunset. The story has unanswered questions, however, because the huge ornaments that were transported with the tree are not shown with the lighted Christmas tree at the end, as expected, and Rockefeller Center and the significance of the tree there are never explained. A map would have been helpful to track the progress of the tugboat.

Children in New York City who have seen the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will enjoy the atmospheric story; others may be puzzled by all the geographical references. (author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)