The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story - Gloria Houston
Ruthie lives in a Pine Grove - a tiny Appalachian town with a long standing tradition in which one family donates a Christmas tree for the entire town to enjoy. This particular year that honor belongs to Ruthie and her family. She and her father select their tree in the early spring and mark it with a red ribbon. But then Ruthie's father has to go fight in the 'Great War'. With Christmas just around the corner it's up to Ruthie and her mother to make sure the town isn't disappointed.

I probably should have saved this one for next year as I I've still got
The Wild and Wonderful Whites burned in my brain. My mind just wasn't open to receiving a sweet cozy little Appalachian story. I kept thinking about Jesco and Sue Bob and that's really not fair to this book. Even so I can't say that I loved the narrative flow here. I loved the idea behind the story - especially as the mom gets to play the hero in a big way. But it seemed to just go on and on and it was hard for me to get really engaged. As usual, Cooney's artwork is beautiful - although a bit hazy in spots.

A few notes:

*Although not as overtly religious as some Christmas stories, religion and the church play a pretty significant role.

*The story could raise some uncomfy questions for parents about Santa as it's quite clear that Ruthie's mother is behind all of the 'miracles'.