From Publishers Weekly
A refreshing alternative to the tinsel and sugarplum commercialism of many Christmas offerings, Bunting's ( In the Haunted House ; The Wednesday Surprise ) arrestingly simple tale resonates with genuine warmth. A boy recounts his family's annual Christmas Eve outing to a nearby wood, where they decorate a special tree ("It has been our tree forever and ever") with fruit, seeds and strings of popcorn for the animals. Rand's ( Knots on a Counting Rope ) atmospheric watercolors create a mood of hushed excitement as they enhance the festivity of the occasion--apple-cheeked figures exude a homey cheerfulness, their brightly colored caps and blanket sparkling against the deep tones of a nighttime forest. After a mug of cocoa in front of their masterpiece and heartfelt renditions of favorite songs, the family returns home, keenly aware of "the secrets all around us" and pleased with the notion that the animals have a place to celebrate Christmas. Parents will take heart at this uplifting book that celebrates the spirit of the season without undue moralizing. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A classic nuclear family shares their own Christmas Eve tradition, leaving their conventionally decorated ranch house in Dad's pickup to deck a live tree in the woods with popcorn and fruit for the forest creatures. It's all deliberately cozy--the constant smiles; the hot chocolate and songs (the boy, who narrates, chooses a carol but little Nina wants ``Old MacDonald''); the boy tucked in at the end under a Christmas quilt that echoes the forest scene. A warm Christmas card of a book, in the best sense; Rand's moonlit watercolors are sure to be as popular as the conventional but warmhearted story. (Picture book. 3-8) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.