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2011 Award
The Carpenter's Gift
( by David Rubel/ illus. by Jim LaMarche, Random House $17.99 Score: )

With so many people out of work this book, set in the Great Depression may well resonate with young people today. It's Christmas 1931 and Henry and his out-of-work father go to New York to sell Christmas trees to earn a little money. They have no money for heat or blankets. When they get to New York City they unload their trees on the site where Rockefeller Center is being built and the men working on the site take a liking to them. At the end of the day Henry's dad leaves a tree that the construction workers decorate; the first of the many glorious trees that will stand on that site. Before he leaves, Henry finds a pinecone near the tree and takes it home. The next day several of the workers show up at Henry's home with scrap lumber. Together they construct a small house and Henry plants the pinecone. Click forward. Henry is now an old man. He is living in the house and the little pine cone has become a giant tree. Henry ends up donating his giant tree for Rockefeller Center when he learns that the tree will be turned into wood for a needy family's Habitat for Living Home. The story of the Christmas of 1931 and the real first tree is told in the author's notes. This is one of those big beautiful holiday books with lush illustrations and heartfelt story. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.


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