A scraggly, undersized evergreen tree finds a home on Christmas Eve in this sentimental story that turns the unwanted tree into an anthropomorphic main character.
A month before Christmas, the small tree arrives at an empty lot along with a huge truckload of larger trees. The larger, traditionally shaped Christmas trees are lined up in rows, receiving lots of attention from shoppers. The scraggly tree stands out, only half the height of the other trees and bearing just a few, sparse branches. The little tree has feelings and thoughts like an earnest child, excited about the holiday and hoping to be chosen by a family. Predictably, no one buys the tree, and by Christmas Eve, the drooping tree is left alone in the lot with a sign: “Free.” Santa swoops in to the rescue, taking the tree home for his own holiday celebration. Digitally created illustrations elevate the storyline with energetic scenes of the shopping families at the tree lot and dramatic, mysterious views of Santa’s arrival and return to his home at the North Pole. The cleverly designed final spread shows the decorated tree in front of the fireplace in Santa’s house, with monogrammed stockings for the eight reindeer hanging from the mantel.
The pint-sized tree isn’t quite dead wood, but it never comes to life as a believable character the reader can care about. (Picture book. 4-8)