The Pine Tree Parable, by popular adult fiction and nonfiction writer Liz Curtis Higgs, is a delightful picture book about the giving nature God requires of us.
The book begins by introducing a farmer who decides to grow Christmas trees. As his crop grows, so does his family. Soon he has four beautiful children. When the trees are big enough, the farmer's family begins selling them. But there's one tree - tall and perfectly straight - the farmer's wife doesn't want to part with. She puts a star atop it, along with a "not for sale" sign. Year after year, she thinks, her family will enjoy this one beautiful tree. Many people wished to buy the tree, but the farmer's wife just smiled and said, "Sorry. Not for sale."
Then one Christmas Eve a family in a rusty old truck, wearing worn out clothes, arrives at the tree farm. They eye the trees with crooked trunks or broken branches; no one else wants these trees, so they are free. But the little girl of the family soon spots the tall and beautiful tree. Filled with excitement, she asks her parents if they can buy it. The author writes: "Her parents were embarrassed. They knew they could never afford it. The Farmer's family were also embarrassed. They knew, too." The farmer's wife notes how full of joy and hope the little girl is. "I'm sorry," she says. "This tree is not for sale. But we'd like you to have it...as a gift." The little girl's family is speechless at the beautiful gift from complete strangers.
"The Farmer's wife watched her favorite pine tree as it fell to the snowy ground. Tears shone in her eyes....Yes, it was a great sacrifice. but it brought even greater joy. Isn't that just like Christmas?"
What I Like: This is a simply told story that even young children can understand: The spirit of Christmas is sacrifice and giving. The illustrations by Nancy Munger are bright and friendly, displaying sorrow and joy equally well. I also love that every two page spread features a corresponding Bible verse at the bottom of the page.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8, but my two year old enjoys it, also.
Publishing Info: Thomas Nelson, 1997; ISBN: 0849914809; hard back, $7.99.
Special Info:Please click here to read our reviews of other parable books by Liz Curtis Higgs.