Sunday, November 26, 2017

Picture Book Review: Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht

Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht. Illustrated by Jarvis. unpgd. Candlewick Press, September, 2017. 9780763695712. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

In our family, we have a section of our home library devoted to holiday books. We read to our boys each night at bedtime and had a tradition of reading holiday favorites* each year while trying on some new books to see if they would become new traditions. 

When I reviewed Red and Lulu earlier this month, I said that it would've made the cut. This one would've as well. The cover of Pick a Pine Tree reminded me of one of our holiday favorites, Night Tree by Eve Bunting (1994) in which a family "decorates" a tree in the woods with edible ornaments each Christmas. Closer examination reveals that the tree is decorated with lights, not food. Yet, it's still a gorgeous cover, literally wrapped up with a sparkly, red bow and featuring lush and lovely pine trees. 

This story of a family of four who sets out to choose a Christmas tree is told in jaunty rhyme and the gorgeous illustrations of pencil, chalk and paint lend a retro feel. The palette of colors is rich and vibrant featuring verdant greens and warm Christmas colors. It's a lovely story of choosing and decorating a tree. My only quibble is the timing of placing the tree topper. We do it first. But this is a small detail in an otherwise warm and lovely addition to the holiday cannon.

*Some of our regular holiday reads:
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present by John Burningham
The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman but we have a collection illustrated by different artists
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Uncle Vova's Tree by Jan Brett
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Again, we have a few editions of this by various artists, but perhaps the recording narrated by Patrick Stewart is the family favorite.
Silver Packages: an Appalachian Christmas story by Cynthia Rylant
Christmas at Long Pond by William T. George
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. Again, several editions of this by various artists including a hysterical one featuring little green goblins.

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