Christmas Farm

( 3 )


When Wilma decides that her garden needs a new beginning, she gathers string, scissors, shovels, sixty-two dozen balsam seedlings, and Parker, her five-year-old neighbor. Year after year, Wilma and Parker nurture their trees, keeping careful count of how many they plant, how many perish, and how many grow to become Christmas trees.
          This companion to the award-winning Pumpkins: A Story for a...

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When Wilma decides that her garden needs a new beginning, she gathers string, scissors, shovels, sixty-two dozen balsam seedlings, and Parker, her five-year-old neighbor. Year after year, Wilma and Parker nurture their trees, keeping careful count of how many they plant, how many perish, and how many grow to become Christmas trees.
          This companion to the award-winning Pumpkins: A Story for a Field is a lyrical, behind-the-scenes look at the intricate lives of Christmas trees.
          Includes an author’s note about the history and cultivation of Christmas trees.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Borges
This is a delightful picture book about a New England Christmas tree farm that children will enjoy all year long. The charming story puts a wonderfully realistic spin on the holiday tradition of Christmas trees, filling young readers with an even greater sense of wonder about the holidays. The main character, Wilma, is an energetic and kind farm woman who decides that her garden should become a Christmas tree farm. With the help of Parker, her 5-year-old neighbor, Wilma buys 62 dozen baby balsam trees, measures straight rows, digs holes, plants trees, weeds and prunes, and patiently tends to the Christmas trees over many seasons. As the trees grow, so does Parker, and by the time Parker is 10 years old and the trees are five years old, Wilma and Parker prepare to sell the trees. The colorful, warm, realistic illustrations on every page of this appealing book help to convey the magic of passing time and the wonders of nature. The fields glow in the yellow sun of spring and late fall, and they glisten under the icy skies of winter nights. Readers of all ages will enjoy this heartwarming story of the friendship between Wilma and Parker, as they pursue their shared goal of providing others with a beautiful Christmas tree. This book will be a treasured favorite at Christmas time and throughout the year. It will be a welcome addition to a children's library, a classroom library, or a young reader's private book collection. Reviewer: Susan Borges
School Library Journal

Gr 1-5

Could a middle-aged woman and a five-year-old-boy plant and care for more than 600 trees? Perhaps that is one of the miracles of the holidays. Wilma is tired of growing petunias and sunflowers, but can't decide what to cultivate next. Then she realizes that she has everything she needs to grow Christmas trees, including an enthusiastic helper-her neighbor Parker. She orders 62 dozen small starts of balsam, or five-year-old seedlings, and she and the boy plant them. Finally, after five challenging years, they have trees to sell. That Christmas, they think about the 566 families who have their trees and place an order for 83 dozen new seedlings to plant in the spring. This lovely tale celebrates intergenerational friendship and determination, growth and nature, and the joy of the holiday season. Root's graceful watercolor and gouache illustrations beautifully capture these elements and more, and an author's note gives additional information about Christmas trees and how they grow.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544105096
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 654,983
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

MARY LYN RAY has written many acclaimed picture books, including Mud, which received the Minnesota Book Award and was an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice. She lives in South Danbury, New Hampshire.
BARRY ROOT is the illustrator of more than thirty books for children, including Tiki and Ronde Barber’s Teammates, Game Day, and By My Brother’s Side. He lives in Drumore, Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Wonderful Christmas story!

    This book does not center on Santa Claus or gingerbread men. Its story focuses on something we take for granted: the Christmas tree. After listening to this story, many times, my 3-yr. old granddaughter wanted to visit a Christmas tree farm!

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  • Posted March 12, 2010


    The sense of community is alive in this story - wanting to plant something that would help families' needs, neighbor helping neighbor, children helping adults. The friendship between an older Wilma and a younger Parker is endearing. A hard work-ethic, patience, loss and the final pay-off of the three will teach children who are never too young to learn this. The book is informative on a subject that always delights children, Christmas trees! A note from the author gives us interesting facts about the Christmas tree, tree conservation, nature habitat and the mystery of December. The most beautiful illustrations always accompany books by Mary Lyn Ray. What a delight!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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