Book Review – The Christmas Pine

From the pen of the well-known Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Victoria Sandoy, The Christmas Pine tells the beautiful story of the journey of a pine tree in its forest setting to a city square to act as its centrepiece Christmas Tree.

The story, told in verse, is actually based on a true story, celebrating a tradition in operation since 1947, whereby the Mayor of Oslo presents the people of Britain with a Christmas Tree as a symbol of peace and friendship and in recognition of the support of the UK during World War II.

Told from the point of view of the pine tree, the story unfolds as the tree journeys by road and across the sea until it stands in the centre of the city square, surrounded by admiring people and singing children.

The book was originally written as a poem to be read as part of the ceremony marking the arrival of the Trafalgar Square, London Christmas Tree in 2020. It was then transformed into this beautiful picture book through the illustrations of Victoria Sandoy.

This seasonal book could be used in the classroom to lead a discussion about Christmas trees and where they come from and about the cyclical form of nature. The final poignant verses could equally prompt discussion:

I cannot stay forever here.

Another tree will come next year.


But think of me when I am gone;

Remember how I grew and shone.


And may the children grow and shine,

Grow and shine like the Christmas pine.

“The Christmas Pine” by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Victoria Sandoy, is published by Alison Green Books, an imprint of Scholastic.