What the Little Fir Tree Wore to the Christmas Party

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Christmas is almost here, and the fir trees that live on the edge of the big forest are stirring with excitement, each dreaming about what to wear to the Christmas party. The littlest tree is imagining what she will wear too, but the others don't even notice she is there. When a truck comes and takes all of the trees to the party except her, the little tree thinks her dream of wearing a long white dress will never come true. But Christmas morning dawns with a special surprise ...

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Overview

Christmas is almost here, and the fir trees that live on the edge of the big forest are stirring with excitement, each dreaming about what to wear to the Christmas party. The littlest tree is imagining what she will wear too, but the others don't even notice she is there. When a truck comes and takes all of the trees to the party except her, the little tree thinks her dream of wearing a long white dress will never come true. But Christmas morning dawns with a special surprise for the little fir tree....

Ignored while the other trees talk about how they will be dressed for Christmas, a small fir tree finds her dreams fulfilled on Christmas morning.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The fir trees are abuzz with talk of what they will wear to the fast-approaching "Christmas party." But when her neighbors are taken to the "party" by a man with a powerful saw, and she's left behind, the tiniest tree fears she'll never don the dress of her dreams. While the story line is a little hokey, Ichikawa's (Bravo, Tanya) precise touch makes the crisp evergreens in these delicate, wintry watercolors seem truly alive. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The little fir tree listens to the larger trees talking about what they'll wear to the Christmas party. One tree yearns to be in a dress of beautiful flowers, another hopes to be wrapped in spirals of lights and the biggest tree of all wants to dress in twinkling stars. When the other trees are taken away, the little fir is left in the forest with a wish to be dressed all in white, like the "veil of the moon." Only a crooked old tree is left to listen to the dreams of the tiny tree. This tale of a little fir tree wishing to be part of the Christmas celebration is a sweet story of yearning and friendship with a happy conclusion and the watercolor artwork is captivating. The forest of fir trees is softly drawn yet the details of the branches and needles are clear. This makes it difficult to feel that being cut down for Christmas is an honor for the larger trees. The two-page spread showing the little fir tree remaining amongst the stumps and bits of branches looks rather sad and the reader may wish all the trees could have remained standing tall in the forest. 2001 (orig. 1999), Philomel Books/Penguin Putnam, $15.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A sweet, spare story with lovely art. Ignored by all of the other evergreens in their discussions of what they will wear to a Christmas party, a tiny fir is upset about being left behind when the rest of the trees are cut down and hauled away in a truck. However, a bent, nearly bare tree has also been left behind, apparently because he is too old. The two of them share their dreams and stories about the season, and when it snows on Christmas morning, they feel well dressed for their own celebration. With its dramatic, impressionistic watercolor illustrations, this title is a good choice for those seeking an alternative to the many commercial books of the season. Pair it with Hans Christian Andersen's The Fir Tree (HarperCollins, 1970) for discussion purposes.-T. T. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Cinderella of fir trees meets her fairy godmother in this Christmas tale. In the forest, the big fir trees are all excited about Christmas, planning what each of them will wear to the big party. One will wear a dress of thousands of twinkling stars, while another will fashion one from a rainbow. In the shadows, the littlest fir tree listens intently and dreams about her own dress, but the others are too busy with their plans to even talk to her. As Christmas gets closer, a noisy truck arrives and the little fir is left standing alone, with no way to get to the party. But there is one other tree that got left behind, a scraggly one, bare but very kind. The old tree is a willing listener for the little one, and asks her about her dream-to wear a long dress of pure white like the moon. On Christmas morning, Mother Nature clothes her youngest tree in newly fallen snow and her older tree in the bright colors of the forest birds. Finally dressed for the party, the two share their own special celebration. Ichikawa's (The First Bear in Africa, p. 498, etc.) trees' dresses are awash in light, glowing with the gold of the sunset and illuminated by the stars of the night. The country-red borders framing the soft greens and blues of the watercolor illustrations will remind readers that this is a Christmas story, even as the author emphasizes the beauty found in nature and within each living thing. Unfortunately, while the reader will appreciate the work of Mother Nature, the stronger message seems to be that it is a tree's dream to be cut down and decorated for Christmas. Better pair this one with Eve Bunting's Night Tree (1991). (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399237461
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1901
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 10.81 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2001

    A TENDER HOLIDAY STORY

    With softly lit watercolors and kind words Satomi Ichikawa tells the touching story of the littlest and youngest fir tree in the forest. Christmas is nearing and there is excitement in the air. Although, of course, the little tree doesn't know what the anticipation is all about. She overhears the other trees talking about what they want to wear to the Christmas party. Each wants the perfect costume. Most amazing of all, the biggest tree wants 'to dress in a thousand twinkling stars and stand in the middle of the grandest avenue in all the world.' Imagine the small tree's fright when one day she hears terrible loud noises, and then looks around to see all the other trees gone. She only sees a truck driving away with all the trees. She thinks she is left alone, but she is not. An old tree is also still in the forest. What these trees wear for their Christmas party and how they celebrate is a happy surprise. Children will feel the holiday spirit in this tender story.

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