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The Little Fir Tree Hardcover – September 27, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brimming with Christmas spirit, Brown's quiet story is timeless, like all classics. So too are Caldecott Medalist Cooney's colorful pictures of woodland wonders in all seasons, huggable children and a lame boy's loving father. Every year at Christmas, the man digs up the little fir tree and takes it to decorate in his son's room where the boy's friends gather to sing carols. Then the father takes the tree to replant it in the meadow. As Christmas Eve approaches years later, and no one comes to bring it to the house, the little fir is lonely and sad. But he hears singing, soon he sees the children he remembers, especially the bedridden boy, coming close. The youngster is now walking and bringing the holiday cheer with him and his friends, to the small tree that had brought him so much joy. The words and easy arrangements of the songs are integrated into the story.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 2. In this striking edition of Brown's tender Christmas story, the illustrator of The Elves and the Shoemaker (2003) provides lush new paintings to replace Barbara Cooney's 1954 artwork. Although the omission of carol music and lyrics removes the original's sing-along possibilities, the story is unchanged, recounting how a living pine tree is brought indoors each Christmas and how it bears witness to the miraculous healing of a sick little boy. Even if children are confused by the nature of the bedridden boy's "lame leg," which readers in the 1950s probably interpreted as polio, Brown's distinctive, rhythmic storytelling ("Seven times the Summer had droned its hot bee-buzzing days around him. Seven Autumns had whirled their falling leaves and milkweed parachutes past his head") reaffirms her legendary status in children's literature. Casting an equally potent spell are LaMarche's acrylic-and-pencil scenes, evoking the picturesque harmony of a Currier & Ives print. Topped off with a jacket proclaiming "By the author of Goodnight Moon," this lovely treatment guarantees an expanded audience for Brown's seasonal tale. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1ST edition (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060281898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060281892
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Experienced Editor VINE VOICE on November 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir Tree" is a cautionary tale in which the ambitious little tree meets a sad end, but Margaret Wise Brown has given her little fir tree a happier fate. As in Andersen's tale, a little tree admires the taller trees in the forest and wishes to be as grand as they are, but this tree is not cut down at Christmas. Instead a father carefully digs it up and plants it in a great wooden tub at the foot of his lame son's bed.

Warm, realistic pictures in colored charcoal bring a luminous glow to the pages. In fact, the illustrations are better than the text.

Never mind that the miracle at the end is somewhat forced. The tree lives on, returned to the forest, and the final scene leaves a warm-fuzzy feeling lingering with readers young and old.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was one of five books I selected as a gift for a young couple just having had their first child. Believing in the "power" of books, believing in an early exposure to words and pictures, I felt this lovely story by Margaret Wise Brown would be a perfect choice. Not having read the book previously, I made sure I did so before sending this group of selections off. Parents and child will love the story and accompanying illustrations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Margaret Wise Brown has always been one of my favorite children's authors. Unfamiliar to me, I found this tale heartwarming but a bit lacking in explanation of the ending especially for small children. I'm afraid that astute children would wonder how the inability to walk was resolved.
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Format: Paperback
Recommended to Margaret by: Memoria Press Kindergarten
Read on December 04, 2013 — I own a copy
The Little Fir Tree is our literature selection for school this week, I believe that we're 13 weeks into the curriculum for Memoria Press Kindergarten. It is a lovely story. Coming into this one, I was thinking it is a lovely cover illustration and I already know that I appreciate the poetic prose of Margaret Wise Brown, I expect to like it. I was right, this is a lovely story for Christmas. It is one of time past that is fun to point out the elements that date the illustrations such as the lamps and other items in the house. I had not read this before, but I'm delighted to add it to our pile of Christmas reads. It's beautiful. It is absolutely beautiful in illustration and imagery, the illustrations for my edition are by Jim LaMarche with a 2005 copyright, and while the story might be from 1954 it holds strong now. There is no commercialization or covering with presents, but family and friends and the importance of celebration together is powerful.

What I wasn't expected was to become teary-eyed and choked up while reading a children's picture book, but that is exactly what happened. The look on my girls faces when they went for the tree in the last scene, oh wow. What an experience. I definitely recommend this book! Especially for sharing hope with others.

I purchased this book for my school lists for Kindergarten and definitely recommend the purchase for others.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You may remember this one from your childhood and now it's time for the grandchildren to have a chance. This is a before Christmas read full of gentle life lessons of kindness and true Christmas spirit. A great story to read and reread. This one will be a family classic to pull out every year and be passed from parent to child for years to come.
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit some bias here: I love this book. My father read it to my sister and me every Christmas Eve when we were little, and that tradition continues to this day. He reads to us from an old version which his mother gave to him when he was young; the new version has condensed the story into fewer pages, has updated illustrations by Jim Lamarche, and has cut out the sheet music and a few of the songs, but the story remains the same, right down to the old-school capitalizations of words like “Spring” and “Winter” and the little boy having a “lame” leg. This is no Goodnight Moon; the story is more complicated and not rhyming, more suitable for kids 3 and up. The author does a great job of making you feel empathy for the main character, which is fairly impressive considering that the main character is a tree. Though it is a Christmas book, there are no religious themes. It’s an uplifting holiday story about the hope, love, and joy of Christmas, and it’s very, very repeatable.
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Format: Hardcover
What a beautiful book! I just read this to my son and it brought tears to my heart. A touching and moving story about the love of a father. To say this is a book just about Christmas is to miss the point entirely - it is a book about how the Christmas spirit is alive and well throughout the year and a reminder of how we should celebrate that love daily.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an old childhood favorite I read decades ago. Time has not diminished the magic of the Fir Tree! I have always loved trees and especially the magic of Christmas Trees.For those with children in grade school who love trees, share this with them if you can.
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