(Reposted from Guinea Pig Writers)
When I decorate my house for any holdiday, I love to display my holiday-themed picture books. Most of these are books I had when I was younger and simply could not part with when I moved into my own house. One of my favorites is Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble.
Katrina, her younger sister Josie, and their mother and father live in the end of a cozy old barn, with their animals living underneath. Near the barn is an old apple tree, where the family picks apples to make pies, cider and apple fritters, and they choose the most beautiful apples to decorate their Christmas tree. The girls spend many hours playing in the old tree, Josie on her swing made from the grape vines that grow around the tree, and Katrina in her “studio” – a branch where she draws her pictures. A fierce winter blizzard rages for three days, while the family and animals are snug in the warm barn. They make it through the storm, but the old apple tree does not and to Katrina, it just does not feel like Christmas anymore. But Christmas Day brings surprises for both Josie and Katrina, as they realize their beloved tree is not gone after all. And it finally feels like Christmas to Katrina.
I love this book because it makes me feel all warm and cozy. The watercolor illustrations are lovely. The story takes place in the year 1881 and has that simple, old-fashioned feel, but not so much that children can’t relate to it. I was an artist growing up, so I could relate to Katrina’s sadness at losing her art studio. I was also a big fan of Little House in the Big Woods – it was the only book I had from the Little House series and so far I have still not read the rest! But Apple Tree Christmas has that same “Laura Ingalls” quality that I love to this day.