Written by Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Harper Collins, March, 1954 (text original), 1982 (text renewed), 2005 (illustrations)
Suitable for: Ages 3-8
Themes/Topics: Christmas, Nature, Family, Children with Disabilities, Seasons, Winter
Opening and brief synopsis: From Booklist: “(The story recounts) how a living pine tree is brought indoors each Christmas and how it bears witness to the miraculous healing of a sick little boy. Even if children are confused by the nature of the bedridden boy’s “lame leg,” which readers in the 1950s probably interpreted as polio, Brown’s distinctive, rhythmic storytelling (“Seven times the Summer had droned its hot bee-buzzing days around him. Seven Autumns had whirled their falling leaves and milkweed parachutes past his head”) reaffirms her legendary status in children’s literature. Casting an equally potent spell are LaMarche’s acrylic-and-pencil scenes…”
Activities: Reading A-Z.com has a lesson plan available. Because this is an adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson story, The Fir Tree, a good exercise might be to read both and compare and contrast the two.
Why I Like This Book: This book is so lyrical. In some ways sad, but ultimately hopeful, I get teary every time I read it. It doesn’t hurt that the little boy in the illustrations, so beautifully rendered by Jim LaMarche, looks so similar to my own little boy with his big blue eyes. This is a book that will tug at your heartstrings year-round.
This will be my last Perfect Picture Book Friday post of 2011, as next week we will be up in Breckenridge to celebrate the New Year and the beginning of ski season (at least for us!). I’ll be back with more in 2012.Authors, Children's Books, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books · Tags: Authors, Children's Books, Julie Hedlund, Margarent Wise Brown, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, The Little Fir Tree, Writer