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The Great Spruce Hardcover – Picture Book, October 18, 2016

4.9 out of 5 stars 123 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2—In this picture book debut, the author addresses a subject close to his heart. Alec is a boy who lives in the country and loves to climb trees, particularly a great spruce, planted decades ago by his grandfather. Every winter he and his grandpa decorate the tree for Christmas, until one year when some men ask his parents if they can use it for the distant city's annual Christmas celebration. Alec's parents consider it an honor, but Alec protests, declaring that the tree could be borrowed instead. It takes time and work, but the tree is carefully dug up, shipped to the city on a barge, and placed in the city center to be enjoyed by everyone. After the holidays, it is returned to Alec's yard and continues to grow, while a sapling takes root in the city square. In an author's note Duvall discusses the tradition of decorating a tree for Christmas, as well as the origin of the annual Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City. There was a brief time when the center used live trees, and Duvall makes the case for returning to this practice rather than killing a valuable living tree. Gibbon's illustrations are large and brightly hued, with a naive style and a shifting perspective that highlights the size and grandeur of the great spruce. VERDICT An attractive holiday offering with an environmental focus.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library


Praise for The Great Spruce:

“Why do we chop down Christmas trees, anyway? Duvall is out to persuade readers to try a live tree. . . . Gibbon’s loose art is just right, making the winter world look teeming, twinkling and homey.”—The New York Times Book Review

Appealing illustrations in acrylic ink and colored pencil… A pleasant holiday story with a subtle hint to protect living trees instead of cutting them down.”—Kirkus Reviews 

“Gibbon’s (The Bee Who Spoke) images of a countryside speckled with cottages and snowy cityscapes recall the work of Ludwig Bemelmans, amplifying the sweetly nostalgic mood of newcomer Duvall’s story.”—Publishers Weekly

“An attractive holiday offering with an environmental focus.”—School Library Journal

“Gibbon’s cozy acrylic-ink and colored-pencil art accentuates the tree’s grandeur in both its idyllic country home and its big-city home-away.”—The Horn Book

Product details

  • Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (October 18, 2016)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0399160841
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0399160844
  • Reading age : 5 - 8 years
  • Lexile measure : NC790L
  • Grade level : Kindergarten - 3
  • Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
  • Dimensions : 10.44 x 0.39 x 11.75 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 123 ratings

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