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Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree Hardcover – October 17, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Mr. Willowby, the unwitting hero of this Christmas classic, looks quite a bit like the little mustachioed mascot from Monopoly. But as befits a Yuletide tale, this diminutive millionaire turns out to be a good bit more generous.

The Christmas tree in question shows up at Mr. Willowby's home by special order, aboard a big pink truck: "Full and fresh and glistening green--The biggest tree he had ever seen." But it's just a little too big, so he asks his butler, Baxter, to trim off the top few feet that brush up against the parlor ceiling. Baxter realizes that this snipped-off top would make a perfect little tree for "Miss Adelaide, Mr. Willowby's upstairs maid." But she, too, must clip off the top of her tree... which then ends up with Timm, the gardener. Timm's trimming goes on to Barnaby Bear, the tippy-top of Barnaby's tree ends up with Frisky Fox and family, and then Benjamin Rabbit finds the top few inches that Mrs. Fox snipped off. And so it goes, until soon the whole countryside learns that it's simply "grand to have a tree--Exactly like Mr. Willowby."

There's many a lesson to be taken from this tale, about recycling and supply-side economics just for starters. But the cheerful illustrations of Robert Barry ensure that you'll have fun just watching as the ever-tinier tree gets passed on to ever-tinier families. (Ages 5 to 8) --Paul Hughes

From Booklist

Ages 3-7. First published in 1963 with ink drawings and green washes, Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree now reappears in a slightly larger format with full-color washes. The ink drawings are as jaunty as ever, and even more cheerful with their brilliant tints glowing against the white pages. The unchanged, rhyming text tells the tale of a Christmas tree too tall for Mr. Willowby's parlor. The butler whomps off the top and gives it to the maid, who finds even the treetop too tall for her table. So she chops off the top of her little tree, which is retrieved by the gardener--and so on. In the end, the one tall tree has provided smaller Christmas trees for seven homes, from Mr. Willowby's mansion, where Mr. Willowby dozes contentedly in his parlor, to the cozy mouse hole behind Mr. Willowby's chair, where three little mice dance around their tiny tree. Simple, satisfying, and memorable, this old favorite's colorful reappearance gives readers yet another reason to celebrate the season. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385327218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385327213
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Diane on October 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a child of about 6 or 7, my parents got me Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree. I would make my mom read it to me over and over as well as hearing "Captain Kangaroo" read it every year on his show. Now, I am a 41 year old mother of three, and I still have my original copy, as well as copies for my three children and am ordering a copy for my brand new nephew. Reading Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree has become a family tradition at my house. Of course, I don't have to read it - I have been able to recit it word for word for years!! This is a wonderful "snuggle up with a child in your arms" book that you will enjoy reading for years. Maybe it will become a family tradition at your house too!
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 1999
Format: Turtleback
I loved this book as a child and am still enchanted today! My children want me to read it year round. Five stars are not enough for this book. Not only is the story entertaining, but it teaches recyclying on a young childs level. If you want a book to pass down through many generations, I strongly recommend Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Janice Fisher on November 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As many of the other reviewers, I loved this story as a child. I am one of 8 children, though, and as our childhood books were being given to us as adults, the only copy we owned went to one of my older sisters who originally owned it. For years the rest of us have been searching in vain to find copies for ourselves, and I was tickled pink today to discover that it has been re-printed! It is a classic tale of the spirit of Christmas that will forever be my favorite Christmas story. I have already emailed my siblings to let them know the good news, and I intend to get copies for my nieces and nephews this year! You'll be making a great choice if you select this book!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just received this book, I had never heard of it and one day I was cruising amazon like I do just about everyday and I came across this book. Based upon the reviews I decided to order it and see for myself. It's a wonderful story, I love how that one Christmas tree wound up being a part of so many peoples and animals christmas. It starts off with Mr Willowby having his Christmas tree delivered and the tree is too tall for the room .So the butler cuts off the top and gives it to the upstairs maid for her to use as her Christmas tree, the tree is too tall for her also , so she cuts off the top and the gardener takes it home to be his tree ,and so on and so on it goes until the very last little tip winds up in a mouses house. It is a very nice enjoyable story for both children and adults, nicely illustrated ,and it just makes you feel good. One of the nicest Christmas stories I have read in a long time.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on November 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Mr Willowby's Christmas tree/Came by special delivery./Full and fresh and glistening green-/The biggest tree he had ever seen." So big, in fact that when it stood in place in the parlor, it not only touched the ceiling but "bent like a bow." Mr Willowby realized that something must be done, and had his butler, Baxter, chop off the top. And what happens to that tree top, makes for a wonderful and endearing Christmas story..... Originally published in 1963, Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree is just as fresh and magical today, as it was all those years ago. Robert Barry's rhyming text is lyrical and joyous, and complemented by his delightful and expressive artwork. Perfect for youngsters 3-8, this is a charming and simple treasure of a book that really captures the holiday spirit, and is a lovely read-aloud story the entire family will want to share again and again, year after year.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: Turtleback
I am 29 years old and have never forgotten the story of Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree. I cherished the book as a child and have a special place in my heart for it still today. This book is enjoyable to read any time of year not only at Christmas. I enjoy giving hardcover versions of my favorite childhood stories as treasured gifts. This book deserves more than 5 stars. I do not wish to give a summary of this story, but encourage you to please read and ENJOY!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Norris on December 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Well, I rememeber this book from when I was a kid. It is fitting that those families who found the top of Mr. Willoby's tree thought of it as a gift, not something that had to be bought. I made sure I had a copy of this book for my daughter to grow up with. I love Mr. Willoby's Christmas Tree
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Othella Morris on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have loved this book since I was only a few months old. It's been a favorite all through childhood, being the first book I memorized and read, the first book I read to my baby brother, the one I had read to me every night, the one I still have memorized at 25, and just had to buy another copy of. When I was little, my very first phrase was "read the book" as I handed Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree to my grandma. I tracked this down for my cousins when they came along after I was a teen, and gave them copies, and it's a favorite in our family. The simple rhymes are wonderful, the story is heart-warming, and the illustrations are too cute! My favorite part about it, now that I'm older, is the introduction of a few higher vocabulary words, such as haste, glistening, magnificent and alternate meanings for words like padding (walking), and trim (decoration). It also teaches things like conservation, innovation, and perseverance. Definitely going to be the first book I read to my child one day!
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