Book Title: The Little Fir Tree (available here)
Author: From the original by Hans Christian Andersen
Illustrator: Christopher Corr
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Publication Date: Oct 2019
Most Suitable For: KS1
Reviewed By: Chris Whitney, Literacy Consultant
It was the beautiful, rich colours of the illustrations that first drew me to this book; a simple retelling of the original story by Hans Christian Andersen.
The story itself is cautionary in its nature, but Corr gives this reworking a brighter ending although the message of being grateful for one’s lot remains poignant throughout. This version tells the story of one little fir tree who lives deep in the forest and who longs to see more of the world. He fails to appreciate the splendour of the forest surrounding him, despite the beauty of the butterflies fluttering around him or the wise words of the birds: “Look at the sunlight falling through the green leaves. It’s so beautiful.” He simply is dissatisfied with his life; a dissatisfaction made only worse when some trees are cut down to make sailing ships and others to build cabins. As he grows and seasons pass, he is at last cut down and taken to a grand house where, on Christmas Eve, he feels his dreams have come true as he is decorated and takes centre place for the festive celebrations. However the next day he is put away in a dark shed with only his memories of forest life and of the kind animals and birds that lived there. “It was the best place in the world,” he thought. If only I’d known it then.”
In Corr’s reworking, the little fir tree once again revisits the forest and realises that this is where he is meant to be. This story provides the reader with a valuable lesson on appreciating what they have and seeing the beauty in what surrounds them.
The illustrations are stunning - vibrant colours and folk-inspired art work - and combined with the story line provide a beautiful festive book containing a simple moral.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Chris for reviewing it.
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