This is NOT your typical Christmas story; it is a humorous, endearing, and creative cautionary tale about chopping down a beautiful Christmas tree from the evergreen's point of view. Unlike human children, the trees see Christmas as a time of terror, as they risk being chopped down and hauled away from their home and family.
The story begins in a lovely forest with the father tree worrying about his young pine trees. “Do you see the stumps?” he asks; noting that only beautiful trees are cut down by humans at the end of the year and tells his seedlings to grow up ugly so they can avoid this fate. But a tree named Little Stevie is stubborn and grows up to be a beautiful tree, everyone warns him not to but he doesn’t listen.
As winter comes, all the trees look peculiar and twisted—except Little Stevie. A family arrives with axes looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Little Stevie is terrified and just that moment realized that he was wrong to ignore his fathers' advice. Now Little Stevie risks paying a stiff price for his vanity and mourns his unwise decision. Just when all hope was lost a Gnomish, magical forest creature appears and puts a strange substance on Little Stevie's trunk. Suddenly he magically transforms into an ugly tree like his siblings. When the humans reach Little Stevie they're disappointed at how ugly all the trees were and leave to find a beautiful Christmas tree elsewhere.
This book’s messages are fairly straightforward and obvious; to help kids learn the importance of accepting parental advice and that relationships are more important than pride. However, there is an ethereal third message which may awaken children's awareness to respect all life and that all life, including trees, have value.
Written by Michael Pellico, a successful writer and producer of films. Pellico's clear, text-dense tale uses simple sentences and an accessible vocabulary. Illustrated by Malane Newman in a drawing style that is a delightful cross between Disney and Dr. Seuss. The charming illustrations show the trees having a lot of personality, with human-like faces and arms, allowing them to communicate and show emotions that children will recognize and laugh with. Kids will fall in love with these characters' personalities, empathize with them, and root for their families to stay together. Teachers who've read this book to their students rave about students' interest and reaction to the story and illustrations.