The After Christmas Tree
Publisher: Scallywag Press
One dismal, grey January day, young Brian sees an abandoned Christmas tree by the side of the road. She looks sad and lonely without her cheerful decorations, so Brian takes her home to look after her. Unfortunately, Brian’s family do not share his enthusiasm and are annoyed when he sits the tree at the dinner table, squeezes her onto the sofa to watch television and even gives her a bath. Forced to take her outside at bedtime, Brian feels miserable that he has failed his new friend, after promising to care for her. However, a little post-Christmas magic puts a smile on everyone’s face the following morning.
This is a touching and ultimately uplifting picture book. Minimal text outlines the story, while the stunning watercolour illustrations provide a sensitive visual narrative. The wordless double-page image of Brian woefully dragging his tree into the garden is loaded with emotion, emphasised by grey-blue colour palette and wide empty space, which poignantly illustrates his sorrow. Brian’s compassion is heart-warming, as is his recognition that kindness should extend throughout the year, not just at Christmas.