Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE CHRISTMAS PINE by Julia Donaldson


by Julia Donaldson ; illustrated by Victoria Sandøy

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-338-82927-3
Publisher: Scholastic

London’s Christmas tree tells its own story.

Narrating in first “person,” a lovely pine describes, in gentle, lilting rhyme, its journey from seedling to tree. Like other trees before and others that will come after, the pine sprouts from a seedling in Norway, grows to a majestic height, then is cut and transported the long distance to the U.K. When set in place, it proudly stands, resplendently decorated, in London’s Trafalgar Square, where it’s watched over by the statue of Adm. Nelson, atop his towering column, and the majestic lion statues surrounding its base. Cheery throngs come and go in the square, fireworks light up the night, and children frolic and sing around the tree, an annual gift from Oslo’s mayor to the U.K. since 1947, in thanks for Britain’s aid to Norway during World War II. This is a charming homage to the holiday season, expressed from an unusual point of view. Children should appreciate gaining some insight into where some large, civically displayed trees may have come from and how they came to be placed on public view. The delicate illustrations effectively contrast the bright greenery, deep blues, and striking winter whites of the Norwegian forest with the lighter colors of London’s day and night skies. Some of Trafalgar Square’s iconic buildings are also on view, as is a vivid red double-decker bus. Adult and child characters are racially diverse; one child is depicted using a wheelchair. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet ode to and pleasant reminder of the Christmas spirit.

(author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)