Pros:A book rich with colors, textures and an important message about giving.
The Bottom Line: The Snow Tree communicates to our young children that our planet enriches our lives with natural bobbles and jewels of surprising beauty and design.
Do animals celebrate the Winter Solstice? In The Snow Tree they do by painting the white-washed scenery that has blanched their world with brightly hued treasures of the Earth. Using the words of Caroline Repchuk and the images of Josephine Martin, The Snow Tree manages to communicate to young children that our planet is ripe with natural bobbles and jewels of surprising beauty and design.
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The Snow Tree tells the story of Little Bear who has awakened from his winter slumber to find his once colorful world is now covered in a blanket of snow. Where have all the colors gone? he cries to a seemingly silent world.
But one by one, animals emerge from the white pages in bursts of color. They reassure him by bringing a pallet of earthly delights to adorn what they refer to as The Snow Tree. First it is a golden lynx carrying orange leaves, then a brown squirrel with scarlet berries, a blue jay with his sky blue feathers and so on. Each animal presents his or her offering with a beautifully turned phrase explaining its symbolic importance. As the animals lay their offerings before The Snow Tree, it is revealed what little bear will bring to the tree. He shall stand guard (how bears love trees!) with his fur as black as nights velvet darkness. And as the animals carefully hang their offerings on the chosen tree, a great moose emerges with a bright golden star around his neck. His proclamation is that the stars light should shine out to all the creatures of the forest, that they may gather to celebrate the glory of nature, and the beauty of peace and friendship this Christmas Time.
Its quiet message and glorious burst of colors from its snowy white pages makes The Snow Tree a favorite of my two daughters so much so that I must tuck it away in the summer as they would have me read it year round. It is a firm book, able to stand up to the boisterous grabbings of a toddler while entrancing them with its richly embossed illustrations. Even I find myself running my fingers over the irresistible textures as I read each page.
More importantly, the story serves to teach my children that Gods gifts serve more than humans. Beyond our wrapping paper and electric lights is a thriving bounty of color and purpose beyond compare. After endless commercials and store displays emphasizing Santa and elves and Grinches and the gimme gimme of the holiday shopping season it is refreshing to read a story that inspires my daughters to gather pine cones and frozen mum blooms to place on the dwarf pine shrub by the driveway of our house. Even now they decorate it with whatever colors nature is creating at that moment. Right now it is waning petunia blooms and winged maple seeds. They smile at their tribute, proud that theyve given back to their natural world. That alone makes The Snow Tree the true Giving Tree.
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