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The Angel Tree

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Overview


A heartwarming Christmas mystery and friendship story!

Every Christmas in the small town of Pine River, a tree appears in the town square--the Angel Tree. Some people tie wishes to the tree, while others make those wishes come true. Nobody's ever known where the tree comes from, but the mystery has always been part of the tradition's charm.

This year, however, four kids who have been helped--Lucy, Joe, Max, and Cami--are determined to solve ...

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The Angel Tree

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Overview


A heartwarming Christmas mystery and friendship story!

Every Christmas in the small town of Pine River, a tree appears in the town square--the Angel Tree. Some people tie wishes to the tree, while others make those wishes come true. Nobody's ever known where the tree comes from, but the mystery has always been part of the tradition's charm.

This year, however, four kids who have been helped--Lucy, Joe, Max, and Cami--are determined to solve the mystery and find out the true identity of the town's guardian angel, so that Pine River can finally thank the person who brought the Angel Tree to their town.

This is a heartwarming Christmas mystery, full of friendship, discovery, and loads of holiday cheer!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/15/2014
Full of the type of warmth and good cheer found in favorite holiday movies, author and PW reviewer Benedis-Grab’s lively tale spotlights the time-honored tradition—and can-do citizens—that make a small town great, even in the face of financial struggle. Nobody is certain who is behind the stately Angel Tree that appears in the Pine River town square each year, but everyone knows that when people tie notes containing their Christmas wishes to the tree, the wishes are granted. This year, middle-schoolers Cami, Max, Lucy, and Joe (all of whom have benefitted from the Angel Tree’s bounty) try to uncover the tree’s benefactor and thank him or her. As the kids puzzle through clues, they discover things that bring them closer to their families, neighbors, and each other—all in time for a satisfying, celebratory reveal. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"Full of the type of warmth and good cheer found in favorite holiday movies . . . Benedis-Grab's lively tale spotlights the time-honored tradition–and can-do citizens–that make a small town great, even in the face of financial struggle. . . . As the kids puzzle through clues, they discover things that bring them closer to their families, neighbors, and each other–all in time for a satisfying, celebratory reveal." --Publishers Weekly

"The Rockwellian-with-issues setting enhances the cozy small-town feel . . . this is a pleasant story in which kids learn life lessons from one another. Part mystery and part holiday high jinks, this will be a little gift to readers who enjoyed Dean Pitchford's Nickel Bay Nick (2013)." –Booklist

"This quick tale of generosity is as warm and simple as a Christmas postcard." –Kirkus Reviews

"A satisfying read on many levels–misunderstandings are resolved, lessons are learned,
friendships evolve, and positive behavior is rewarded. Be sure to have a box of tissues handy." –School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Ever since the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew began searching out answers to mysteries, middle readers have been intrigued by the idea of an adolescent investigator. In the little town of Pine River, every year at Christmas time a tree would appear in the middle of town. This became known as the Angel Tree. No one saw it go up and no one ever knew who arranged for its appearance but it was there every year without fail. Citizens of Pine River could put a wish on the tree and if the wish were sincere, it would be answered by the townspeople during the season of giving. Lucy has a wish this year that just “has” to be granted. Lucy’s birth mother gave her up for adoption because she was blind and the mother could not care for her. Two years ago, Lucy’s adoptive parents had given her Valentine, a Seeing Eye dog that gave Lucy the freedom she had always wanted. Now her beloved Valentine is sick and her treatment is more than the family can afford. Joe is an outsider in this town, where he has come to live with an uncle he did not know when his military mother was deployed overseas. He had always fit in easily but this time, his anger got in the way. He just wants his mom back home where they can have a normal life. Max’s family lost their home to a fire. Cami’s talent for music is a gift to her grandmother and to the whole town but Cami fells that she needs to be more like her cousin. When these four teens join forces to discover the secret of the Angel Tree, no secrets are safe. Readers will enjoy the antics of this team and will watch as they meld and become true friends. Themes of friendship, stereotypes, and community run through the entire story. Recommended for upper elementary and middle school collections. Reviewer: Joyce Rice; Ages 8 to 12.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-18
This quick tale of generosity is as warm and simple as a Christmas postcard. As the calendar counts down to Christmas in the idyllic little town of Pine River, four children hang their wishes on the Angel Tree, a tradition in which an anonymous benefactor and the close-knit residents pool their resources to help one another. The kids are sugar-cookie cutouts: Lucy, a timid blind girl whose family can't afford her guide dog's cancer treatment; class clown Max, who lost his house in a fire; Joe, "the most hated kid in Pine River," whose only parent—a Marine—can't be home for Christmas; and Cami, a violinist who can't seem to make her grandmother proud. When the kids' wishes are granted, Cami decides that they should work together to find "GB"—the "Great Benefactor" who started the tradition—to say thanks. Questioning kindly adults, the kids learn confidence and tolerance as they discover the story behind the tree. Mentions of cellphones and Harry Potter DVDs feel almost anachronistic against Pine River's folksy charm. The kids seem younger than they are, and their dialogue often sounds unrealistic, but their innocence might appeal to readers who want a winter break from typical middle school drama. A light holiday read with little mystery or development but a lot of happy endings. (Fiction. 8-11)
School Library Journal
10/01/2014
Gr 4–7—The little town of Pine River has a lovely holiday tradition—every year an enormous Christmas tree mysteriously appears in the town center. Residents can place their deepest, most secret wishes on the branches, and somehow, every year, each wish comes true. But this might be the year that the wishes are too difficult or expensive or just plain impossible. Lucy's guide dog needs an operation that her out-of-work father can't afford. Unhappy new kid Joe wants to see his soldier mom. Prankster Max yearns for a new home for his family to replace the house that burned down in an electrical fire. And Cami just wants her grandmother to be proud of her, even if it means giving up the violin, which she really loves. As their wishes get fulfilled, the four middleschoolers come together to figure out who the mysterious GB (Great Benefactor) of the town is, and in the process learn something about themselves and one another. Yes, this feels like a Hallmark movie, but it is a satisfying read on many levels—misunderstandings are resolved, lessons are learned, friendships evolve, and positive behavior is rewarded. Be sure to have a box of tissues handy.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545613781
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/30/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 32,675
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Daphne Benedis-Grab grew up in a small town in upstate New York where Christmas was always her favorite holiday. She is the author of ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK, a young adult novel. She has worked a variety of jobs including building houses for Habitat for Humanity in Georgia, organizing an after-school tutoring program in San Francisco, and teaching ESL in China. She now lives in New York City with her husband, two kids, and a cat, and still looks forward to celebrating Christmas every year.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 31, 2014

    5 STARS I enjoyed this story. It is a true Christmas story, a

    5 STARS

    I enjoyed this story. It is a true Christmas story, a mystery, community helping each other and fun to read. I like the characters, the setting and it is a touching story.

    Every Christmas a big tree is put up on the town square. No one knows who is behind the tree. They call it the Angel Tree. The children or people who have a need or a Christmas wish write it down on paper and put it on the tree. Others see the wishes that they could give or help take it down. Some are simple others seem so big as impossible to receive their wish.

    One boy wrote that he wanted to find a recipe his grandma talks about from Russia. One boy who's home burnt down a few weeks ago wishes for a house. A blind little girl who's seeing eye dog has cancer and her family can't afford treatment for him wishes for her dog to get well.

    Four Children decide that they want to find out who is behind the Angel tree and give them a Christmas gift. They are determined to find out and find clues.

    Lives are changed for the better. Lots of people are giving and receiving. It makes you think what can I do? What would I wish for?
    The miracles don't wait for Christmas Eve but are answered when they can. This is a story that is uplifting.

    I was given this ebook to read and in return I agreed to give honest review of it. Net Galley and Scholastic gave me this ebook.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 31, 2014

    Festive and heartwarming! This story about Christmas celebrates

    Festive and heartwarming! This story about Christmas celebrates the gift of giving and friendship. Four young people set out to discover the identity of the mysterious benefactor who puts up the Angel Tree and helps make wishes come true. A perfect Christmas gift, or for any season!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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