Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

The thing that makes the holidays so special is that each family has their own traditions.  Many are similar to other families' traditions, but each has a bit of personal flair.  Ours include baking and decorating cut-out cookies and peanut butter blossoms, going ice skating, sisters caroling at the piano, arranging Christmas tunes for our various musical instruments, watching White Christmas and classic Christmas cartoons recorded in 1989 on VHS.  We also read Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree aloud every year.  Published in 1963, my grandma first read it to my mom and uncle, and then my grandma would read it to me when I went to her house.  Now we have the beloved book at my mom's house, and last night my sister Jessica read it aloud to the family.

The sweet story of Christmas unity and sharing is told in rhyme and begins with one large Christmas tree.  Mr. Willowby quickly realizes that it is just a little too large for his parlor.  The solution is to chop off the tippy top.  Instead of throwing it out, the top is sent to Mr. Willowby's maid, who finds the tiny tree to be perfect for her apartment.  Well, almost perfect.  After a snip off the top, the tree looks great.  Tim the gardener finds the discarded top, and it keeps going until all the little forest families have progressively smaller trees just as festive as Mr. Willowby's.

This special childhood story will remain a little part of our Christmas for a long time.  I can't wait to read it to my own kids.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?  Any of them literary? I'd love to hear about them!

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