The Great Spruce – John Duvall, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon


51v88sbwrxl    The Great Spruce – John Duvall, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, (9780399160844), 2016

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review)  4

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book?  Alec is a young boy who loves climbing trees, especially the great spruce that his grandfather planted many years ago. “Because his grandfather could no longer climb the tree himself, Alec would race to the very top and tell him about all he could see from up there.”  At Christmas time Alec and his grandfather decorate the tree for the holiday season.  One day some men from the city come to see the tree and ask to use the tree for the big city Christmas celebration.  Honored, Alec’s grandparents agree, but Alec protests.  He insists that the tree not be cut down. Alec suggests that the tree be dug up so that it can be borrowed by the city and then returned and replanted.  Alec is invited to through the switch to light the tree in the city and then “After the holidays, the great spruce returned home to the earth.”  The illustrations have a nostalgic feel that perfectly complement the story.  The endpapers show the various animals that live in the spruce’s branches. An “Author’s Note”  tells the history of the Christmas tree and notes that for a few years the tree at Rockefeller Center in New York was a living tree.  The author also includes photos and text describing the method for transplanting trees.  This is a delightful story for the holidays.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is an interesting Christmas story that also will appeal to readers interested in the environment.  

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?   No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review: 1/15/17             

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