A Christmas Tree for Pyn



Heartwarming story of getting Papa in the Christmas spirit.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Gives kids a glimpse of a simpler life, where a mountain man chops down his own Christmas tree and his little girl strings berries to make a decorative chain and hangs acorns, feathers, bird's nests, and cocoons on the tree as ornaments.

Positive messages

Little Pyn never loses hope of getting a tree and decorating it "like the people in the village do," and she remains cheery, even when her gruff papa seems as if he won't budge. Her persistence and love are rewarded when he softens and decides to embrace Christmas traditions, have fun, and open his heart to her.

Positive role models

Pyn is a model of optimism and persistence. She doesn't take no for an answer, gently persuading her papa to let them have a Christmas tree and promising to make all the decorations herself. Papa shows that a grownup can have his heart melted and change for the better.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this gentle story of a little girl and her father shows that even the hardest heart can be melted by love and good cheer. In a subtle way, Papa's gruffness is shown to stem from his pain over the loss of Pyn's mother -- a revelation that may go over the heads of young kids, or may provoke some discussion.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Little Pyn lives on a snowy mountain with her big, gruff father who makes her call him by his name, Oother, rather than Papa. She hopes to get a Christmas tree this year, like the families in the village do, and promises to make all the decorations herself. Her father finally gives in and they go together to chop one down and come home and decorate it with treasures Pyn has gathered from nature: berries, acorns, feathers, bird's nests, cocoons. Pyn's persistence and love help her father open up, and he gives her a red bird that was her mother's to top the tree -- and tells her to call him Papa from now on.

Is it any good?


This gentle story by the author of Old Bear and His Cub (2010) shows the power of love and a child's optimistic spirit to heal the pain of loss and soften the hardest heart. The detailed text lets readers understand Pyn's private world, her hopes and dreams, and subtly reveals that the loss of her mother is what has made Papa so shut down. The spare pencil-and-gouache artwork effectively contrasts the snowy landscape with the stylized, disproportionate figures of giant Papa and tiny Pyn.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like to celebrate the holiday in such a simple way. Many families go all out at holiday time, with lots of decorations and presents. What are the most basic things you'd need to feel like it was Christmas?

  • Pyn helps her father open up and enjoy the holiday. Do you think a kid's positive energy can change the heart of a grumpy parent? Have you ever done that?

  • Pyn and Papa live on a snowy mountain, far away from the village and other kids. Would you like to live in such an isolated place?

Book details

Author:Olivier Dunrea
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:October 13, 2011
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 8
Read aloud:4 - 8
Read alone:6 - 8

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 4, 5, and 8 year old Written byLaura Dierks December 25, 2012

A truly beautiful story

This book is at first sad and then inspiring. The little girl, Pyn, is persistent and strong, which is nice.
What other families should know
Great role models


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