THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE AND OTHER STORIES

Henry van Dyke, Author . Paraclete $15.95 (90p) ISBN 978-1-55725-315-6

Van Dyke's most famous Christmas story, "The Story of the Other Wise Man," is beloved of generations of readers, and this volume offers two more holiday stories from the 19th-century Presbyterian minister. The opening yarn, "The First Christmas Tree," is the better of the two, portraying in dark detail an eighth-century struggle between foresters who are clinging to the old gods and solstice festivals, and a heroic Christian who journeys far to teach them about the celebration of birth of Christ. Van Dyke's descriptions can be startling and memorable, as when he depicts "the eerie woodland, somber and limitless" that the party must pass through, or the oaks' "branches twisted and knotted as if in rage." The second story is more didactic, centering around a group of angels who sermonize to one another about what should be done about the troubles of the world. The small gift book format, woodcut illustrations and two-color design will appeal to holiday gift-givers. (Sept. 1)

Reviewed on: 09/23/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Religion
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