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CHRISTMAS FARM by Mary Lyn Ray Kirkus Star


by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Barry Root

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-15-216290-0
Publisher: Harcourt

Wilma is a successful gardener who lives happily by herself on a farm in New England. One year she decides she would like to grow Christmas trees, and with the help of her neighbor boy, Parker, they plant and grow hundreds of trees together. They work side by side for five years, until the trees are large enough to be sold, and then they order more trees to plant the following spring. Ray tells her story in simple, lyrical language that focuses on the trees and their growth. She doesn’t have to spell out that Wilma and Parker are great friends and that shared goals and work forge strong bonds. All those aspects of the nuanced plot are apparent in the spare story and in the beautifully understated watercolor illustrations. Root’s illustrations often use a warm gold palette for interior scenes in Wilma’s sunny kitchen and outdoors on her farm in summer; winter vistas show deep blue skies with speckles of falling snow, deep green trees and glowing lights from distant farmhouses. (Picture book. 4-7)