Terri Schlichenmeyer: The Bookworm Sez 12-19-11
What are the things you’re dreaming about this Christmas?
Are you hoping to see a new bike beneath the tree, a video game, or a new stuffed pal? Would you like a new pair of pajamas from Santa, or some warm slippers or a new coat? Are you dreaming of snow or a holiday spent on the beach?
What is your secret dream this Christmas? Whatever it is, you might have to be patient to get it, as you’ll see in “The Loneliest Christmas Tree” by Deborah Allen, illustrated by Molly Brooks.
Once upon a time, far from the edge of the city, there was a beautiful forest of evergreens all clustered together. They were friends and they all wanted one thing: to be decorated someday with lights and an angel topper for Christmas. That was a big honor because love sat beneath the branches of a Christmas tree.
In the middle of that forest was a tree that didn’t get a lot of sunlight. He was very small and his branches were weak but he dreamed of being decorated, just like all his friends. Every year, he hoped and watched as people came from the city and chose a bigger tree to take home – never noticing the tiny tree – until finally, the little Christmas tree was the last one left.
Over the years, as the tree stood alone, the city crept closer and closer. One day, the tree looked around and noticed that he was surrounded by buildings and cars. Kids played near his branches and mothers pushed babies in strollers. People fell in love beneath the tree and he was happy. He was 10 stories tall and 30-feet wide and though he was never decorated in someone’s house, he could see Christmas and that was fine. He knew that he was right where he belonged.
But then one day, a grumpy man stuck a sign by the roots of the big tree. The sign said that the tree was in the way, that his spot would make a good parking lot, and that he was going to be cut down on Christmas Eve!
Christmas Eve was just days away!
But then, as chainsaws growled and just in time, the loneliest Christmas tree finally got his wish – but his angel was nothing like he’d dreamed about …
If you think “The Loneliest Christmas Tree” looks and feels like an older, classic children’s picture book, you’re not far off. Singer, songwriter and author Deborah Allen wrote this story more than two decades ago and only recently asked Molly Brooks to be its illustrator.
None of that, of course, will matter to its intended audience.
Kids only need to know that this is a wonderful tale of dreams deferred and heroes in unlikely places. There’s holiday magic here, a little edge-of-your-booster-seat drama, and a perfect happily-forever-after.
I think this would be a great book for children ages 4 to 8, especially if they’re awestruck by your Tannenbaum. For them, “The Loneliest Christmas Tree” will be a dream gift.