The fourth entry in the Maple & Willow series finds the sisters excited about Christmas preparations, especially getting their first real Christmas tree.
This year the sisters are going to a tree farm with their parents to select a real tree. But as soon as the tree is brought into the house, Maple begins to sneeze uncontrollably. Their tree must be moved outside, and little sister Willow has something unkind to say about Christmas being ruined. Willow feels remorseful about hurting her big sister’s feelings, so she creeps downstairs at night and decorates a small stepladder with lights and ornaments. Willow even lets Maple put the star on top of their creative Christmas ladder-tree. The understated humor, spare language, and white backgrounds convey a calm, minimalist world in which Christmas isn’t overwhelming and sisters always work out their differences. Endearing illustrations in pencil with digital coloring show the two round-headed, light-skinned little girls enjoying their time together, from sledding to baking to building an unusual snowman. The illustrations of snow-covered evergreen trees are particularly intriguing, with fluffy layers of snow floating on prickly green tree branches with astonishing verisimilitude. The final, wordless page shows the sisters’ Christmas gifts under the ladder, with a small, tree-shaped pot of rosemary for Maple and a wrapped watering can for the sisters to share.
A charming addition to a winning series. (Picture book. 3-6)