A Christmas Tree for Pyn

A Christmas Tree for Pyn

by Olivier Dunrea
     
 

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Christmas is coming. In the craggy rocks on the snowy mountainside, tiny Pyn has her heart set on decorating her very first Christmas tree. But, "No Christmas tree," Papa says. Still, Pyn won't take no for an answer. She knows that a Christmas tree is just the thing their cottage needs to make the season festive and cheery. Pyn is determined to find the perfect…  See more details below

Overview

Christmas is coming. In the craggy rocks on the snowy mountainside, tiny Pyn has her heart set on decorating her very first Christmas tree. But, "No Christmas tree," Papa says. Still, Pyn won't take no for an answer. She knows that a Christmas tree is just the thing their cottage needs to make the season festive and cheery. Pyn is determined to find the perfect Christmas tree - no matter what.

With this story of the love between a father and daughter, Olivier Dunrea captures the true spirit of Christmas.

Editorial Reviews

Bruce Handy
It's a neat trick Olivier Dunrea…pulls off, using the trappings of a timeworn tale to tell a story with a contemporary, learning-to-live-again moral…Dunrea's illustrations reflect the canny, emotional subtlety of his storytelling. Sweet and plainspun but also modern and graphic, they remind me a bit of the work of prewar picture book makers like Esphyr Slobodkina (Caps for Sale) and Wanda Gag (Millions of Cats).
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
“Oother loved his daughter very much. But he was a bearlike mountain man who did not soften for anyone.” A cheerful girl in spiky pigtails and clogs gradually breaks down her gruff father’s defenses with her persistent pursuit of their first “real” Christmas tree. Dun-rea’s (Old Bear and His Cub) talent for capturing a mood of majestic stillness in snowy landscapes shines yet again, as does his skill at creating cozy, rustic details—bushy fur coats and boots, tree-stump beds, a stone hearth—that suggest a mythical time. Pyn and Papa’s warming relationship is one to celebrate any time of year. Ages 3–8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Emily Griffin
Tiny little Pyn and her "bear of a man" father, Oother, live on the top of a steep mountain. As Oother is gruff and distant, Pyn has never celebrated Christmas before. Over the years she has watched the other villagers partake in various traditions and this year she is determined to try Christmas herself. As a surprise to Oother, Pyn heads out to cut down a Christmas tree, but it is too big and she gets stuck in the snow. Oother, nearby, pulls her out and demands an explanation. Though still gruff, he helps her get the perfect tree. Pyn, who has been collecting beautiful items for some time, uses them to decorate the tree. Oother holds her up so she can reach the top branches. He even pulls out an old box containing a beautiful bird ornament that he made for Pyn's mother. They end the evening looking at their tree by the fire. Papa says "Good night, daughter...Merry Christmas," as he carries her to bed. Simple illustrations, done in pencil and gouache, are large and occupy the entire right page of every spread. The text, always on the left page, tells the story of this father and daughter who now only have each other and are slowly learning how to communicate and live together. A lovely read-aloud for winter and showing the spirit of a modest Christmas. Reviewer: Emily Griffin
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—"My name is Oother," says the mountain man when his daughter calls him Papa. The brief exchange is a typical one between this parent and child with polar opposite personalities. Hardened by nature and perhaps by sadness (masterfully conveyed when he thinks "How very much like her mother she is"), Oother is unable to express his love, much less consider celebrating Christmas. Brightness and adoration come easier for tiny, pig-tailed Pyn, who keeps the house comfortable and clean and dreams of having a Christmas tree. The snowdrift landscape and pencil and gouache artwork are not the only similarities to Dunrea's Old Bear and His Cub (Philomel, 2010). Oother has the same grizzled bulk and gruff demeanor as Old Bear, and Pyn seems all the more petite bundled in a red-tasseled scarf that one imagines came from the same skein used to knit Little Cub's. This heartwarming story of parental love, in which a girl is rewarded for her gentleness and quiet determination, would make a wonderful read during the holiday season and beyond.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

Little Pyn lives in a cottage on top of a mountain with her cranky giant of a father, who doesn't want to celebrate Christmas—or raise a daughter by himself, either.

In this odd but touching Christmas story, Pyn keeps house for her father and tries to please him with tasty food and a tidy home. Her father refuses to be called "papa," repeating that his name is Oother. Readers learn early in the story that Oother has lost his wife, with a subtle glimpse into his troubled thoughts ("how very like her mother she is"). After a search in the snowy forest, Pyn acquires her first Christmas tree, which she decorates with birds' nests and feathers, and Oother gives her a bird ornament that he made for Pyn's mother long ago. The sight of the decorated tree brings father and daughter closer, with Oother finally telling his child to call him "papa" and calling her "daughter" as he tucks her into bed. Minimalist illustrations in gouache and ink show the two characters in profile against stark, white backgrounds that suggest the frozen emotional environment in the home.

The tale of Pyn and her father has psychological ties to the story of Heidi and her grandfather, with a similar theme of the love of a little girl cracking open a crusty heart.(Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101647660
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/13/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
Lexile:
AD700L (what's this?)
File size:
10 MB
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Olivier Dunrea (www.olivierdunrea.com) is the author of many bestselling books for children, including the Gossie&Friends series, Old Bear and His Cub, Bear Noel, Hanne's Quest and It's Snowing! He lives in Narrowsburg, New York.

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