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Christmas Farm

by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Barry Root

Published by Harcourt, 2008
40 pages
ISBN: 9780152162900

Ages 5-10

Ready to move on from petunia and sunflower gardening, Wilma eventually settles on the idea of growing balsam trees. She orders “sixty-two dozen small starts” and enlists the help of Parker, her five-year-old neighbor. After measuring straight rows and digging holes, the pair plants all 744 trees. They care for the young trees as the years pass. Although some are lost to mice, deer, moose, and bad weather, 597 trees are finally ready to sell the year Parker turns ten. Between individual sales and a city tree lot purchase, almost all the balsams are gone by Christmas, leaving Wilma and Parker ready to order seedlings for spring planting. Warm watercolor and gouache illustrations capture the quiet comradeship of the neighborly duo during the regular cycling of the seasons, as trees and boy grow up together.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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