Saturday, December 10, 2016

The gift of Christmas by Christine Leeson illustrated by Gaby Hansen

"During the night the animals had all added more decorations to the tree.  The frost had come and touched everything with glitter. The little tree sparkled and shone and even stars seemed to be caught in its branches with the biggest and brightest star right at the very top."

Molly Mouse sees a beautiful tree in the window of a human house and her mother explains it is a Christmas tree.  Molly sets off to find her own tree in the woods to decorate.  Molly finds a doll in the barn.  She thinks it would look perfect on top of her tree but the doll already has an owner - the old farm dog. Molly is frightened the dog will chase her and her brothers and sisters away.

"But maybe because it was Christmas, or maybe because he was remembering the time when he'd played with the children by the farmhouse Christmas tree, he said the mice could borrow his toy."

Then she find a silver ribbon but it belongs to a magpie. "But maybe because it was Christmas ... " Molly is allowed to take the ribbon.  The pattern continues when she finds red shiny things lying on the ground (crab apples belonging to a fox) and a shining star and tiny lights (the collar on a cat). Molly carefully places all her treasures onto the tree but she is disappointed.  The tree doesn't look like the one she saw in the house window.  During the night, while the little mice sleep, the forest animals add decorations to the tree. It now looks magical.  Little children will adore the silver foil sparkles on this final page. Adults will appreciate the gentle message of kindness.

Look for this book in a library.  Perhaps read it by candle light.  This is an old book, first published in 2000, but you might be lucky and find a copy like the one we have in our school library.

I would pair this book with The Silver Christmas Tree by Pat Hutchins.

You can see the second book about Molly here.  I have discovered Christine Leeson is really the artist Catherine Walters.  She was born in UK but now lives in New Zealand. If you click on the link you can see some of her books and very impressive art.

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