Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

Robert Barry
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Random House, 2000   ISBN: 978-0385327213

Mr. Willowby was delighted when his Christmas tree arrived by special delivery. It was "fresh and glistening green" and it was the biggest tree "he had ever seen." He asked the delivery man to take the tree into the parlor where it was given pride of place in a corner. When it was stood up however, there was one problem. The tree was too tall. So Baxter the butler was instructed to chop off the top of the tree.

The top of the tree was then taken to Miss Adelaide, the upstairs maid, who was delighted with the gift. When she stood her little tree on a table she discovered that there was a small problem. The tree was just a little too tall. So with "scissors sharp and long" Miss Adelaide cut off the top of the tree. The top was then put out with the trash.

Timm the gardener saw this little Christmas treetop and took it home to his wife who trimmed off the top of her delightful little tree and tossed what she did not need out the window where it was found by a passing bear. The bear was very pleased to have found such a perfect little Christmas tree and he took it home to his family. Only the tree was just a bit too tall to fit on the mantel, so Mama Bear neatly snipped the top off and put the top outside the door of her neat home.

And so it goes on until the Christmas treetop is very small. Indeed it is small enough to suit a mouse - the creature who ends up with the very top of Mr. Willowby's grand tree.

Readers who enjoy setting up and decorating their Christmas tree every year will be delighted with this story. Who would have thought that one tree could give so many people and creatures so much pleasure. A simple text with wonderful rhymes, and delightful illustrations showing families of all kinds preparing for Christmas, makes this a perfect holiday title.