cover image The Little Owl & the Big Tree: A Christmas Story

The Little Owl & the Big Tree: A Christmas Story

Jonah Winter, illus. by Jeanette Winter. Beach Lane, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-66590-213-7

Jonah Winter narrates with quiet respect the journey of the saw-whet owl found in the 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, starting by describing her at home in the forest: “The owl didn’t have a name—/ and of course she didn’t:/ She was a wild animal.” Jeanette Winter zooms in on the owl in digital art, pulling back to show her tiny form against the great blue-green spruce she calls home. Then, suddenly, her tree is cut down and hauled to New York City on a flatbed truck amid cars that seem toylike, movement and noise signaled with emanata. The owl comes face-to-face with a worker, the bird’s subsequent rescue and convalescence conveyed as a way station before her restoration to her rightful home in nature, “somewhere out there under the stars.” With minimum sentimentality, the mother-son collaborators offer an effectively quiet celebration of a wild creature who encounters human civilization. An author’s note offers more details about the true story. Ages up to 8. (Sept.)