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Night Tree Hardcover – September 15, 1991

50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1st ed edition (September 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152574255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152574253
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children, many of which can be found in libraries around the world. Her other Clarion titles for very young readers include My Big Boy Bed, which was also illustrated by Maggie Smith, and Little Bear's Little Boat, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on December 13, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a neat story about a family's Christmas tradition. Every year, they troop out into the forrest to decorate their night tree, a living pine Christmas tree. The night tree is festooned with edible decorations. After the family enjoys the magic of the decorated tree, they depart, knowing that the friendly critters who inhabit the woods will enjoy the decorations as a Christmas time snack.
The book introduces an interesting family "tradition" and teaches the concept of tradition as well as doing for others (the gifts of food for the animals). It is a warm story that brings smiles to young faces.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
As I read this book I felt a part of the family as they went to visit their Christmas tree. I loved the warm feeling it gave me. I read it to my adult friends at a small Christmas gathering and they loved it also.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm a 3rd grade teacher and my kids loved the setting and language of the story. It was an excellant book to enhance future writings about holiday traditions.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Angie Kay on October 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm an elementary ed. major and this book is also good to read to kids who don't celebrate Christmas because although the family decorates a tree there isn't any mention of a particular hoilday. The title even lends to this fact.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christina Ward on August 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This lovely book is a favorite at any time of the year, though it centers around one family's Christmas Eve tradition. My kids have asked if we can start decorating a tree in the woods, too! The illustrations are gorgeous (Ted Rand is one of our favorites) and the writing makes you slow down and savor the unfolding of this simple, but sweet story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Anne Covey on January 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an elementary literacy coach I found this book to be a wonderful addition to my December booklist. This story tells the tale of one family's Christmas Eve tradition of placing food on and around a special tree in the forest each year for the animals. Beautiful illustrations add to the story. This book lends itself to discussion of other family traditions. I used it with all elementary grade levels and we made food for the birds to be hung in the trees around our playground, wrote class and individual poems, and the upper grades wrote personnal narratives about their family traditions. A great way also for parents to think about a family tradition of their own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents VINE VOICE on November 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
In this touching Christmas story, a family has made it a tradition to go and find a tree on the night before Christmas.....but, not just any tree, a special tree selected in the moonlit forest. Once they select the tree, they decorate it in the woods for all of the forest creatures to enjoy.

There is popcorn garland, apples and oranges, sunflower seed balls made with pressed millet and honey, and scattered under the tree for the tiniest of creatures to enjoy are shelled nuts, breadcrumbs and pieces of apples.

Once they are done decorating, the dad spreads a blanket for the family to sit briefly and drink the hot chocolate from their thermos. The listen to the birds singing in the distance. The birds are other forest animals watch from afar at the feast waiting for them. Soon once the family has left, and the animals feel safe, it is time for them to celebrate.

This book is fabulous. It is the perfect story to instill the true spirit of giving to for little ones during the holidays. Gorgeous illustrations in colorful design by Ted Rand, along with this beautiful story, makes Night Tree, a holiday book to be read year after year. It was first published in 1991. I Loved this book. Highly Recommended.

Rating - 5/5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shanna A. Gonzalez on December 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
Strong families have traditions that bind them together through the memory of shared experiences, repeated year after year. This sweet story tells about one family's tradition of decking an outdoor Christmas tree with homemade, edible ornaments, then enjoying a hot-cocoa picnic with Christmas carols before leaving the tree for the wildlife. This story is told from the perspective of one of the children and warmly illustrated by Ted Rand.

Night Tree is pleasing not only because it provides a new variation on the tradition of bringing home a Christmas tree to decorate. Its outdoor setting creates a contrast between the snowy cold and the warmth of the family's warmth, as they bundle against the cold and crowd together on a blanket to sing while hot cocoa warms their hands. There is a certain romantic appeal to the idea of animals benefiting from the family's celebration (pictured in the final scene), and a feeling that the family's warmth has overflowed toward other living things. Like some of Bunting's other stories, it verges on the sentimental, but is still a great addition to a Christmas reading basket.
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