The Fir Tree: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

fir-tree-01By Hans Christian Anderson

Illustrated by Sanna Annukka

The Good: It’s awesome — if you don’t mind a depressing Christmas. It is Hans Christian Anderson, after all. The illustrations, the gold foil on green cover, the cool classic Christmas tale – it all works together to make this a keeper. We will be setting it out with our Christmas decorations, for older kids and adults to pick up and read. I’m not sure younger kids would connect with the geometric artwork or story as well as older ones.

The Bad: We tend to read and watch stuff with our kids where everything turns out alright, despite our actions. As a result, we can inadvertently teach that regardless of how we live, everything will be OK. Anderson is much more real, but prepare yourself – and if reading to a young child it might be best to prepare them – for an unhappy ending. The benefit of this type of writing is that it encourages some deep thinking when reading alone, and discussion when reading to others. I think it’s better to prepare for reality than to ignore it. This story is a classic for a reason.

The Ugly: Not the book – it’s gorgeous. Not the story – it’s classic. It’s the truth being told that is ugly – to look at life now and enjoy what is beautiful about it, because in the end we will all be ash. It’s a good thought to remember at Christmas, to enjoy life now, but a bummer to remember we only have so many Christmases left. On the positive side, as a Christian, I figure this life is as bad as it gets, and the day I’m burnt up I’ll see my first Real Christmas.

I received a free copy of this book from blogging for books for an honest review. I chose it because of the cool looking cover, and am glad I did.



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