Elizabeth M. Scott’s Christmas Tree is a picture book documenting the author’s happy memories of her childhood in rural Maine and the special delight of the weeks leading to Christmas. It is intended as both a celebration of a special time and a reminder of the true meaning of the holiday.
As soon as Thanksgiving passes, the countdown to Christmas begins – and there is so much to do! While Mother bakes and plans, the young star of Christmas Tree writes her letter to Santa. Finally, it’s time for her to select the perfect Christmas tree from the Maine forest surrounding their rural home. Once the tree is decorated with handmade paper chains and popcorn strings, the rest of the house is adorned with wreaths, and candles are placed in the windows. Finally, the shopping can be done and the presents wrapped.
As the story concludes, the quiet magic of a snow-covered Christmas Eve reminds our heroine of the first Christmas in a lonely manager, and the spiritual joys and lessons to come.
While Christmas Tree brings to mind the warm comfort of cherished family memories. It is told in sing-song fashion, often marred by pedestrian rhymes. For example: “I was an angel in/ the church Christmas play/ My brother was Joseph/ Oh, what can I say!”
It also requires a more thorough copyedit to add missing periods and correct other punctuation errors, as well as to address tense issues; the story shifts from present tense to past tense and back again, giving it an unfocused and unpolished feel. Kay Whystock Jackson’s illustrations, while sweet, look more childlike than professional.
Ultimately, while some children might enjoy the soothing and gentle nature of this book, one suspects Christmas Tree will be treasured most by the author’s family and friends.