THROWBACK THURSDAY: REVIEW A REISSUE
One of the jobs of the chief gardener at Rockefeller Center is picking out the massive Christmas tree to have in the plaza for display to the public. It’s all just part of the job and most of his work takes places well before the Christmas season so it doesn’t bolster his appreciation for the holiday spirit. The gardener finds his perfect tree on the grounds of a convent. When he approaches the Mother Superior to make his request for the tree, he is told that he will have to take it up with Sister Anthony – a nun (formerly an orphaned girl by the name of Anna) who has a special relationship with the flora on the grounds and has taken to referring to the Norway Spruce in question as “Tree.” It takes a bit of convincing and explaining but the gardener gets more than he bargained for.
I was not familiar with this story before reading this reissue, but I’ve come to understand that it’s a bit of a modern classic. It definitely has many of the things one looks for in a feel-good holiday story. Our main characters come to learn something about themselves and their place in the world and how they can have a positive impact on others.
It is interesting to note that the book starts out with the Rockefeller Center gardener speaking to the reader, and it is his story that we follow, but if you read the Goodreads description of the book, it is about a little girl named Anna who becomes Sister Anthony and who has a special bond with nature and one particular Tree.
The book is barely more than 100 pages and yet it is indeed about both the Rockefeller gardener and the orphan girl Anna/Sister Anthony. This is one of the few times that you will see me write this … this book needs to be just a little bit longer.
I felt just a little bit short-changed on the story bout Anna/Anthony. I was drawn into the story by the writing and because I was curious to see how we would get to the end (we see the very end of the story at the beginning of the book, so I know from the outset that this is about the journey to get there) and while it is definitely a sweet, nearly touching story, it could have gone just a little deeper to have a fuller impact.
This newest edition has sweet illustrations by Jill Weber.
I can understand why this has become a popular story to read during the Christmas holiday season. It is brief and hits all the right notes. It is worth making it a tradition to read this story each year.
Looking for a good book? The Christmas Tree is a touching holiday tale by Julie Salamon and is might just have you making a new holiday tradition to read this novella each Christmas.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Christmas Tree
author: Julie Salamon
artist: Jill Weber
publisher: Random House
hardcover, 118 pages