Book of the Week: Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

December 17, 2012

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

By Carter.

After a weekend of grasping at anything for comfort and cheer, I am especially grateful for the communal sprit in Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree. A huge pink truck rolls up to Mr. Willowby’s mansion with the greenest and most gigantic tree he has ever seen. The tree is so full and fresh that it brushes his ceiling, so he snaps off the top and gifts it to the maid. And when the smaller tree is still too tall for the maid’s cozy spot, she too snips off the top and it finds a new home to trim.

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

As the tree becomes tinier, it fills the homes and hearts of even tinier families.  This updated version is still a classic, but if you can get your hands on an original 1963 version, you will be treated to the most gorgeous black ink illustrations with green washes.

This tale is entirely enchanting, and a bittersweet reminder this particular year of the infectious love that comes with being good and kind to one another. Whatever you are celebrating this month, I hope your homes are bright and full of life and love.

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Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree « Design of the Picture Book
December 19, 2012 at 8:47 am

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy December 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

This book has been a family tradition for many, many years. We have an early copy that was printed in only green and white. That copy was gleefully snagged by one of our daughters. I had to buy copies of the version pictured above for our grandchildren.


2 Andrea December 17, 2012 at 10:22 am

Oh, what a sweet book! I think I’ll need to add this one to my Christmas collection. Thanks for the recommendation!


3 Sara @ What About Sara December 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

adding this to my wish list for our little guy!


4 Missy December 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

I ADORE this book. Many years ago (four decades!), I attended a lovely private neighborhood kindergarten run out of a converted garage. I still treasure songs and lessons from our wonderful, creative teacher, Mrs. Bodkin. For Christmas, she gave each student a book especially chosen for them, with a personal inscription on the title page. My book was “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree.” I treasure that book. My children have their own copy — I think we will read it together tonight.


5 Ashley December 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

One of our family’s favorites!


6 Carter Higgins December 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

So, so happy. The love around this little book has bolstered my spirits today!


7 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay December 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

My six-year-old fella loves this book. :) Enjoy.


8 Angela DeMuro December 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Thank you for a sweet recommendation! I had never heard of this title before, and I am excited to read it to my little one:)
Happy Christmas!


9 Casandra December 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Our most favorite Christmas book!!


10 hcarroll December 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm

My grandmother had an old, well-loved library copy of this book that she read to my sister and I when we were kids. It was always a very special book to us and continues to be one of my all-time favorites. I was so happy to find it was being reprinted a few years back and I’ve bought several copies to give to people, though none quite as great as Gram’s copy.


11 vandegee December 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree, came by special delivery…

Love this book. I never had it as a kid, but someone gave it to us when our oldest was born. It is such a sweet book.


12 april December 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I still have my tattered edition of this childhood favorite, although I have supplemented our Christmas book collection with a new copy. My son is 7, a first grader, and I have been shaken to my core about Friday’s sadness, especially since I can’t stop thinking they were all his age. Every month, I go to his classroom and bring treats and a book to read to them, usually holiday-themed. This was the book I brought this past Monday to read and it was all I could do to not snatch up every child in there and hug them for the rest of the day. Oh, this poor, sad, beautiful, awful world. :/


13 Carter Higgins December 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Oh, April. That is such a bittersweet story. I’m so glad you were there.


14 Kelsey December 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

And, might I recommend, if you can find it– The Muppet version, with Kermit narrating and the mouse family ( Robert Downey Jr. as Mr. Willowby (hysterical) and Leslie Neilson. :)

The book is lovely, but there’s something so funny and cute about the little half hour made-for-tv Muppet movie. (OK, it’s on youtube: )


15 Carter Higgins December 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Oh, yes! Love that little special!


16 Caryn December 19, 2012 at 8:30 am

One of my all-time favorite Christmas books. It makes me sad to see them reprint it in full-color. The original two-color is just so gorgeous. Love it any way you have it though I guess. And yes, the Muppet movie is awesome, but not nearly as awesome as the book itself… but that’s coming from a book purest! :)


17 Dana Carey December 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thanks for pointing out a lovely book, Carter. So nice to think there’s a home and love for even the tiniest tree. One size does not fit all!


18 Carrie Finison December 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm

This sounds wonderful, Carter. I’m adding it to my wishlist.


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