A Christmas tree with love to spare.


Mr. Willowby has a magnificent Christmas tree! It is a bit too tall for the room, Baxter (his butler) cuts off the top. He just can't bring himself to throw it out, so he gives it a housemaid, Miss Adelaide. She has the same problem and solves it the same way: by cutting off the top. She tossed it outside, where Tim the gardener found it. He took it home ... and the same pattern continues, with Mistletoe Mouse being the last to bring it home for his family. 

Teen Reader (17):
This is so cute. The illustrations are great and I love that everyone gets to have a piece of Christmas. I would have really loved reading this every year with my kids.

Parent Perspective:
I am tickled that my teen loves the story as much as I do. I love that each person who discovers the "treetop" instantly thinks of someone to give it to; further down the line, it becomes a family gift, which is cool, too. I bought it many years ago, but it wasn't until recently that I found it to share. Even though this was written when I was young, I don't remember the story.  The simplicity of the green and black illustrations are fabulous, as is the rhyme. Some pages have a full illustration, others have several smaller images to help move the story along. Plenty for little ones to focus on while you read (though the text balance is perfect). Highly recommended. 

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Fun rhyme and classicly-styled illustrations instantly give this book a warm, holiday feel. Kids will love the suspense of wondering who will get the leftover Christmas tree part next.

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This seasonal picture book is a classic, first published in 1963.
Educational Themes:

There are several ways to engage with this story. You could draw on the theme of random acts of kindness (some planned, others not); gratitude and celebration; or just plain "let nothing go to waste." Each person/animal who had part of Mr. Willowby's tree was thinking of others. Given that is part of the season's theme, what are ways that your kids can think of to "pay forward" the blessings in their life?

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
8 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
3 to 9
Age of child:
Read by a 17-year-old girl.
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This will likely be a family favorite and annual reading tradition.

Title Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
Author Robert Barry
Publisher Doubleday Books for Young Readers © 2000
Illustrators Robert Barry
ISBN 9780385327213
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Poetry, Holidays, Religion
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