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ISBN 0307020010 - My Christmas book collection couldn't possibly be complete without Amye Rosenberg's The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree. This edition, in paperback, isn't my favorite, only because the book gets a lot of reading and wear; I prefer the hardcover.
In the trunk of a large fir tree in the forest, there are three cozy homes. Mr. and Mrs. Fieldmouse live on the first floor and Old Gray Acorn, a squirrel, lives on the top floor. In the middle, there are the Chipmunks, a family of four, including Little Nina and Nutley. Each Christmas, the children prepare for Santa's visit - and each year, he doesn't come. This year, Mom and Dad throw a party to cheer them up. Aunt Mim, their favorite aunt, comes and, when the kids tell her why they're sad, she has a great idea. She thinks Santa doesn't come because their house just looks like any other tree, so they will decorate their tree to be sure Santa can't possibly miss it. Everyone pitches in and they all agree - it's the biggest, most beautiful Christmas tree in the world. When Santa finally does find them, a tradition is born.
As a kid, I found the book made me very sad, to think Santa could miss anyone! Even the happy resolution didn't make me feel better about it. Rosenberg is both author and illustrator and she's done a superb job. The illustrations, which take up all or almost all of every page, are engaging, fun and vivid. The details are nice, the colors are bright and they contribute so much to the story. The text is fairly simple and the story, like all good Christmas tales, does have the required happy ending, confirming that Santa doesn't overlook any child intentionally.
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