The Robin and the Fir Tree

Candlewick/Templar. Oct. 2021. 64p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536220025.
PreS-Gr 2–From high up in the hills, a fir tree stands, dreaming of more. His friend the Robin tries to cheer him up by retrieving a festival’s ribbon, but even that does not last long. Then, a year later, he is selected as the town’s Christmas Tree. He gleefully dons his ornaments, only to be grabbed at, trampled, and eventually discarded. As an onlooker, the Robin can do little but grant her friend’s last wish. In Jameson’s retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Fir Tree,” the tree has a very different disposition. He has friends, and his curiosity does not stem from vanity. Both trees share the same fate, but the tales have different emotional tones and lessons. Unlike most holiday stories, this version is more bittersweet than cheerful. Only the prospect of nature’s continuing cycle will relieve children’s minds from thoughts of the tree’s fleeting youth and the Robin’s loss. Several art styles work in conjunction with the dulcet voice that delivers the elegantly worded half. Creatures and plants have the realism of a natural history illustration. The fir tree has a caricatured face. Delicate lines intricately weave around each other.
VERDICT A bittersweet retelling of “The Fir Tree” for all ages. Fans of Jan Brett’s written and artistic style will be delighted by this find.

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