cover image Christmas Tree Memories

Christmas Tree Memories

Aliki. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-06-020007-7

A family of four sits by the tree on Christmas Eve and strings memories like cranberries and popcorn. Over the years this brood has made corn husk wreaths, starfish Santas, pine cone angels and walnut cradles with the help of extended family and friends. In this holiday fantasyland where everyone smiles despite blizzards and illness, there are no fights over toys or disappointments of any kind. Each family member has a voice, though at times it is unclear who is speaking--parent or child. ``We made spool figures the time we had chicken pox. We made a tent over our beds, and you brought us hot soup and sage tea.'' Aliki's portrayal is warm and cozy--perhaps a bit too much so--with a Norman Rockwellesque patina over the proceedings. Homey illustrations reflect the warmth and closeness of her text, although flashbacks to earlier seasons may prove confusing. A few members of the multiracial cast have unclear facial characteristics that vary from picture to picture. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)