Saturday, December 19

A Perfect Tree

We are very blessed, for lots of reasons. This is one of them:

Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina
Photo by Hugh Morton

Jenny and I were raised in a beautiful state, with rugged mountains filled with perfect trees. Growing up, my favorite book was about one of these perfect trees, grown on the peak of my favorite mountain in Avery County, NC.

Appalachian writer Gloria Houston's book, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, tells the story of Ruthie, a little girl who picks out the perfect Christmas tree with her daddy before he leaves to fight in WWI. While the story is wonderful, the illustrations really make the book.


Houston's story is brought to life by award winning illustrator, Barbara Cooney. Ms. Cooney's folk art graces the pages of over 100 books, including 15 books that she authored herself.

Grandfather Mountain
Barbara Cooney
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree

The Brooklyn born artist's long and active career as an illustrator began in the 1940's. In 1959, she was awarded the Caldecott medal for most distinguished children's picture book for her book, Chanticleer and The Fox. She won the award again in 1980 for Ox-Cart Man. (Other Caldecott winner's include Where the Wild Things Are, The Polar Express and Madeline's Rescue.)

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree was published in 1988 and was one of Ms. Cooney's last collaborations. She passed away in 2000 leaving behind a legacy that lives on in the book shelves of millions of children and adults alike.

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