Saturday, December 15, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Picture Books - Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

It's Day 3 of our 12 Days of Christmas Picture Books series. Today's pick is an oldie but goodie. I've said it many times, but it bears repeating -- one of the best things about being a mom, hands down, is sharing books with Sprout that I read as a child. I can hardly wait until he's old enough to start reading chapter books with, because there are so many we'll read together. But in the meantime there are oodles of great picture books that I've just been itching to share.

Today's pick is no exception -- Robert Barry's Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree. First published in 1963, I remember encountering this classic when I was in elementary school, and I'm thrilled that it's still available to read with my kiddo. As the story goes, rich old Mr. Willowby, has a gigantic Christmas tree delivered to his home. The tree is magnificent -- but it's too tall for even Mr. Willowby's mammoth parlor. So the top is lopped off by Baxter the butler, who can't bear to throw out the treetop and shares it with Miss Adelaide, another Willowby staff member. Well, that tree is too tall for Miss Adelaide's display space, so she snips off the top and discards it, where it's saved by Timm the gardener. And on and on it goes, until even the tiniest little houseful of mice has a Christmas tree to mark the season, all thanks to Mr. Willowby.

I love the spirit of giving and sharing with others that runs through this story. As each person finds a use for what someone else discards, the tree ends up brightening so many more houses than just Mr. Willowby's. And so it is with the joy of the season -- as we each receive from others, so too should we pass it on, spreading the spirit of the holiday with as many others as our lives can touch.

And just in case you're wondering: Sprout got a huge kick out of this story. The first time we read it, we had to go through after we finished so he could see the treetop get smaller and smaller and smaller. And then on the last page, when the tiny mouse tree is shining out of their hole right next to Mr. Willowby's huge tree, Sprout sighed and said, "That's just right for them." Oh the joy of a classic story so well told!

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry, published by Random House Children's Books
Ages 3-7
Source: Library
Sample: "Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree / Came by special delivery. / Full and fresh and glistening green -- / The biggest tree he had ever seen."


Mud Hut Mama said...

Oh thank you for reviewing this one! It was a childhood favorite of mine that I had completely forgotten about. Can't wait to get my hands on it and share it with my girls.

Amy said...

We love this book so much. One of the things my boys love is that the mouse's hole is in Mr. Willowby's house, so the very tip-top of the tree comes back to where it started. So perfect!