Title: The Year Of The Perfect Christmas Tree
Author: Gloria Houston
Illustrator: Barbara Cooney
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
"It was getting toward Christmas in the valley of Pine Grove. The wise folk said the old woman in the sky was picking her geese, for the Appalachian Mountains lay blanketed with snow. The road wound like white ribbons around the misty blue ridges, tracked by the runners of wagons, sleds, and sleighs. Occasionally an auty-moblie chugged its way through the silence. Across the ocean the Great War raged, but in the valley all was a peace.
It was getting on toward the Christmas Ruthie would never forget. The Christmas when the village almost did not have a Christmas tree. It happened this way. Ruthie told me so."
Why I liked it: Living near the Smokey Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains really helps me appreciate Ms. Houston's talent for weaving a tale about the kind hearted people living in shadow of the mountains they call home. Children of all ages will add this book to their holiday traditions as a reminder of what is important in this world...family and a perfect gift of love.