The Christmas Pine


The Christmas Pine is a gift from faraway Norway to the people of Britain for its support during WWII. Every year one perfect pine tree is chosen to travel from forests aboard a boat to stand proudly in Trafalgar Square.

The tree recalls its start as a tiny seed within a cone, surrounded by its brothers and sisters. Thereafter, it remembers the whispering wind suggesting it would grow so tall and strong as to be chosen to be the tree to be gifted.

Once in place in Trafalgar Square, the tree watches the passers by, takes comfort from Nelson’s Column and the lions, and remembers as the carollers sing of times and places and events from long ago.

The Christmas Pine is a proud poem from former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, alongside beautiful, enigmatic pictures from Norwegian illustrator, Victoria Sandøy. Bookwagon suggests this is a picture book to share, know, keep and gift. It is a glorious Christmas choice.

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The Christmas Pine

Julia Donaldson and Victoria Sandøy

(Alison Green Books)- hardback

The Christmas Pine begins as a ‘tiny seed inside a cone’ within a forest alongside its brothers and sisters. However, it seems the ‘whispering wind’ knows this seed will grow and shine. It knows that it will touch the sky. Thereafter, it is destined to be ‘cut down’ and ‘carried off to a distant town’ ahead of a long journey.
This is the story of Norwegian Trafalgar Square Tree. It seems that every year it is gifted to London by way of thanks for Britain’s help during WWII. In this picture book, Julia Donaldson and Victoria Sandøy personify the tree, that we know its story.
Thereafter, it is dressed and stands ‘in a city square’ watching passers- by, while it in turn is watched over by Nelson and the lions. What’s more, it soaks up the atmosphere of the season, from the shoppers, to those who look into its branches, to the carollers. It seems that their songs ‘of reindeers/ songs of snow‘ remind the tree of ‘long ago‘.
Then again, this tree knows that it’s place is not perfect, that for one season, it is a perfect gift, until ‘another tree’ that will come the ‘next year’.
Like The After Christmas Tree The Christmas Pine is a story of a tradition, with similar empathy. However the historical place of this tree, alongside its rhyme and lush, lyrical illustrations suggest this is a book to gift, share and treasure.


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