cover image The Christmas Pine

The Christmas Pine

Julia Donaldson, illus. by Victoria Sandøy. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-82927-3

In this tale inspired by true events, Donaldson shines light on a special holiday tradition, imagining the journey of a great pine to London’s Trafalgar Square. “Once upon a time I stood/ With brothers and sisters in a wood” begins the enormous evergreen’s sentimental recollection of how it grew from a tiny seed, was cut down, and “traveled far across the sea” to become a city Christmas tree admired by shoppers, families, and passersby. The tree enjoys city life, but best of all, it loves to hear the local children singing of reindeer and snow, “Songs of kings who traveled far./ And songs of light from a distant star.” Sandøy’s soft-edged images have a dreamlike quality that captures the hustle and bustle of the variously inclusive city community, as well as the quieter vibe of the pine’s snowy forest home, its shadowy shape on the deck of a ship sailing at night, and its quiet, elegant decoration. An author’s note details why Oslo’s mayor presents the British people with a Christmas tree each year. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)