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A Christmas Tree for Pyn
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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