4 out of 4 stars
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Dr. Raymond Dunn’s The Little Scrub Christmas Tree is an illustrated children’s book about a Christmas tree farm that has different types of trees. The trees compete with each other to be the best tree at the farm. For example, Roots is a Colorado blue spruce who shows off his long needles, and Barks, a Fraser Fir, feels he has the nicest shape. In a nearby forest, scrub trees grow wild and are considered unattractive. When a crow unwittingly carries a pine seed from the scrub forest to the farm, a scrub tree, Scrubby, starts growing among the majestic trees.
Scrubby feels inadequate among the fancier trees. While the other trees discuss who might be chosen for prestigious sites (Rockefeller Center, the White House, etc.), he is content to be friends with the birds, insects, and farm animals. With extra care and attention, will Scrubby become special in his own way?
This is one of those stories that sneaks up on you and steals your heart. When I first started reading about the various tree characters, I thought this would be a cute yet forgettable book. Once Scrubby enters the picture, the story begins to sparkle. I quickly found myself rooting for this sweet underdog to be appreciated.
The author does a wonderful job of developing the tree characters. They are described well and love to brag about their attributes. The Christmas tree farmer loves their competitive spirit as it inspires each tree to look their best. This adds depth to the story as it shows the positive aspects of competition. I also like the way Scrubby is described as the polar opposite of the other trees. Instead of boasting about himself, he is nice to everyone and focused on enjoying life.
The author writes in an easy-to-understand style, without being too simplistic. The story contains a valuable lesson about kindness and accepting others for who they are. Also, general facts about various trees are mentioned. This provides a nice, easy way for children to learn a few tidbits about different types of trees.
The beautiful artwork adds pizazz to the story. Each tree character is depicted with a distinctive face on their trunk, and their facial expressions tie in well with the plot. Of course, I am partial to Scrubby who has the cutest face.
This book has easily earned a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. It’s refreshing to see an indie book that is professionally edited and formatted, with no errors. Although the beginning passages are somewhat bland, I became enchanted once the pine seed was transported to the Christmas tree farm. The book would be a perfect choice for a read-aloud to younger children ages 3-8; intermediate readers can read the story on their own. Fans of nature-themed stories would find this one particularly fun to read.
The Little Scrub Christmas Tree
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