Rory the Dinosaur Needs a Christmas Tree

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Rory the Dinosaur Needs a Christmas Tree Book Poster Image
Dad comes through in sweet Christmas tale.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows typical holiday traditions: caroling and having hot chocolate, looking for a Christmas tree, decorating it, exchanging gifts, making cookies and putting some out for Santa on Christmas Eve, hanging stockings by the fire, candy canes, poinsettia, wreaths, ornaments, wrapped presents. Shows island setting with palm trees and ocean.

Positive Messages

"Christmas isn't really about the tree. It's about celebrating with family and friends and being with the ones you love."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rory is kind to his friends and loves his dad and shows appreciation to all of them. His dad is loving and attentive and goes out of his way to help Rory find a tree, coming up with a creative solution to make sure he has one (of sorts). His friends are sweet and thoughtful and come caroling to Rory.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Liz Climo's Rory the Dinosaur Needs a Christmas Tree is the third book in the popular Rory series that started with Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad. Like the other two books, this one spotlights the father-son bond in a fresh and charming way. This time Rory is excited about the holiday and longs for a tree, and Dad comes through in a unique and funny way. 

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What's the story?

In RORY THE DINOSAUR NEEDS A CHRISTMAS TREE, the little dino and all his animal friends on the island are getting into the holiday spirit, and Rory and his dad are looking for the perfect tree. One is too little and droops under the weight of ornaments, a nice big one is someone's home (a bird's), and a palm tree is too tall and won't budge. So Rory goes to sleep on Christmas Eve without one. But when he wakes up, he finds his big green dino dad decked in a string of lights with a star on his head: "Best tree ever!"

Is it any good?

This cute, gentle holiday tale gives an island twist to cozy traditions like caroling, making cookies, looking for a tree, and exchanging gifts while celebrating friendship and the parent-child bond. Like the best Christmas stories, Rory the Dinosaur Needs a Christmas Tree points to a deeper meaning amid all the holiday hoopla: "Rory knows Christmas isn't really about the tree. It's about celebrating with family and friends and being with the ones you love."

Author-illustrator Liz Climo's art is irresistible, from the tropical island setting to the adorable animals, including a sloth wrapped in a string of lights, a warthog wearing a red-bowed wreath, and a mouse wearing a tiny Santa hat, as well as Rory's dad impersonating a lit Christmas tree with a star on top. And the shared love and friendship shines through on every page.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about holiday traditions in Rory the Dinosaur Needs a Christmas Tree. What traditions do you look forward to?

  • For "winter gear," Rory puts on earmuffs and his dad puts on a scarf. What do you wear when it's cold out? How would Christmas feel different on a tropical island? 

  • Can you name all the different kinds of animals that are Rory's friends?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love christmas books and dad stories

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