Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Seasons Reading: A Christmas Tree for Pyn by Olivier Dunrea

A Christmas Tree for Pyn
written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
Philomel Books, 2011
978-0-399-24506-0
Grades K-2
Reviewed from purchased copy.

BLURBChristmas is coming. In the craggy rocks on the snowy mountainside, tiny Pyn has her heart set on decorating her very first Christmas tree. But, "No Christmas tree," Papa says. Still, Pyn won't take no for an answer. She knows that a Christmas tree is just the thing their cottage needs to make the season festive and cheery. Pyn is determined to find the perfect Christmas tree - no matter what. With this story of the love between a father and daughter, Olivier Dunrea captures the true spirit of Christmas.

I love Christmas stories that focus on the reasons for the season beyond the presents and the spending of money.  Not that I don't enjoy that part of the season because I do, I love giving gifts.  But sometimes it is good to have a reminder that there are things far more important than the trappings of the season.  This book does a sweet job of reminding the reader that one doesn't need big expensive gifts or fancy decorations to enjoy the season.

The things that I especially enjoyed about this book include the darling illustrations.  The contrast between tiny Pyn and her "two bunches of hair bouncing off either side of her head" and her father's "loud, booming voice, large, rough hands, and a bristly black beard" were delightful.  The words flow beautifully, one could read the story without the illustrations and still have a good picture in one's mind of what's happening.  But the illustrations do add a great deal to the story.  I think my favorite illustrations is the one where Pyn is in snow up to her waist, carrying a small hatchet, but very determined to cut down the perfect Christmas tree, even if she has to do it herself (which of course she doesn't).  I also really like the way Dunrea did the trees in the background, they are beautiful.  I also liked the natural things that Pyn used to decorate the trees, proving that one doesn't need really expensive ornaments to have a pretty tree.  I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy a great holiday story about family and celebrating.

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