Books

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Everybody’s Tree’ by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Renée Graef

c.2020, Sleeping Bear Press
$16.99
32 pages

The Christmas tree in your living room is for your entire family.

Long before you were born, your mom bought ornaments for it, for the future. She and your dad got a few when they were first married. Grandma added an ornament or two here and there, and you made some that hang on the branches now. It’s a tree for the whole family but in “Everybody’s Tree” by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Renée Graef, some trees are meant for even more sharing.

Many years ago, when he was small, a young boy planted a tiny spruce tree in a great big yard, next to a red house. The little tree was put in a hole in the ground and its roots were covered with dirt to keep it safe.

And the boy grew up. He got married and moved into the red house with his wife and his little girl and a once-tiny tree that was taller than the house.

Many years later, the boy was an old man, and a grandpa. His grandchildren loved to play around the tree next to the red house, but the tree was getting old, too. To honor it, the man and his family tied colorful ribbons on its lower branches. They didn’t notice the helicopter swoosh-swoosh-swooshing above their yard, flying over their spruce tree.

Inside the helicopter, a crew was looking for a tree just like that one!

Would the family be willing to let go of their old friend? Could they “share with everybody everywhere?”

The answer was yes! and so crews came to take the tree. They carefully “gently… gently… gently” lowered it onto the back of a big truck, and then they tied it down so it would be safe for the trip it was about to make. They took the tree to the city, where the people were excited and they all had a turn in decorating it. There were lights and glitter, ornaments and sparkles and even a little snow.

Once upon a time, the tree belonged to a little boy in a red house. Now it belonged to everyone.

You can maybe imagine Christmas without a ton of gifts. This year, you’re trying to get used to the idea of Christmas without a lot of family. But no tree? Impossible, which is why you need “Everybody’s Tree” this year.

When it comes to the lights on a Christmas tree, everyone is four years old. It’s hard not to feel the magic when the lights go on, and author Barbara Joosse makes that tale enormous here — not just in the tree itself but in the tree’s life and its purpose. Smaller kids may not notice that; older ones might but they’ll all love the illustrations by Renée Graef, and they’ll love that the cover of this book glows in the dark.

So make a new family tradition this year by reading this book together with your 4-to-8-year-old, and Zoom the grandparents, too. “Everybody’s Tree” is a book nobody will want to miss.

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