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A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree

Last updated Friday, November 21, 2008

Author: Colleen Monroe
Illustrator: Michael Monroe
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 1585360023
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2008

Synopsis: This charming tale of an overgrown pine always being passed by for Christmas, and what his woodland friends do to help him, is sure to become a Christmas classic. With delightful illustrations by wildlife artist Michael Monroe and enchanting text from Colleen Monroe, the birds, deer and squirrel of this story help make their special friend's wish come true.

Note to readers:
•  Vocabulary: dismay, delay, revealing, sobbing, kinds of trees (Scotch pine and fir), shelter, perched

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is on the cover of the book? Why do you think the tree looks sad?
•  Does your family go get a Christmas tree? Where did you get it?
•  What is your Christmas tradition?
•  How do you feel to be picked or chosen? Have you not been chosen before? How did it make you feel?
•  Have you ever wanted to be a part of something, like a family?
•  What could do to make others feel special (i.e., smile and say hi, wish someone happy birthday, etc.)? Do you do it on a special day or all of the time?
•  What types of birds and animals do you see in the pictures?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is the Christmas tradition according to the story?
•  What tree cried?
•  What did the squirrel say to the tall big tree?
•  What purpose did the tall big tree have?
•  What did the great big tree want?
•  Have you ever wanted to do something kind for someone sad?
•  Do you wish to be a Christmas tree?
•  What did the animal friends do for the big Christmas tree?
•  Did the big Christmas tree come true? Was it happy?
•  What did the tall big tree become to it’s animal friends?
•  How many of you became a friend to someone who was rejected or left out? What could you find to use to decorate a tree?
•  Did the tree get his wish? Did he have to be chosen by the people coming to get trees to be a special tree?
•  Is the tree happy now? Why?
•  Who do you know who is special to you? What makes him or her special?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Snowy Christmas Tree Ornament—Cut out two tree shapes from construction paper or other stiff/thick paper. Make a wide trunk Take one tree and with scissors, cut a line from the truck half way up the tree. With the other tree, cut a line from the top half way down. Interlock the trees together to form a 3 three dimensional tree. Poke a hole on the top of a tree and attach string/ornament hook. Take string, or cotton and glue to the tree for a snowy effect. Add ornaments or other decorative items to make a Christmas tree.
•  Make a Spiral Snowman Ornament—Draw a large “cinnamon bun” on a piece of white paper. Cut from the outside all the way to the middle—make sure to leave a circle in the middle. Cut out a circle for the snowman’s head and attach to the middle of the “cinnamon bun”. Draw coal eyes, carrot nose and a large smile. Cut out a black top hat and attach to the snowman’s head. Make a hole to attach an ornament hook or string. Glue the hat to the head and hang.
•  Make a Christmas tree picture frame card out of construction paper. Decorate cut out pieces on the tree with construction paper for a deserted or lonely friend.
•  Draw a snow scene for winter
•  Draw a snow man or cut out one to glue on a card.
•  Bring Santa hats to decorate with jewels or beads.
•  Draw pictures of the animals in the book.
•  Draw a Christmas tree
•  Draw a picture of friends helping a loner or rejected person

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!