A boy recounts his family's annual Christmas Eve outing to a nearby wood, where they decorate a special tree with fruit, seeds and strings of popcorn for the animals. Atmospheric watercolors create a mood of hushed excitement as they enhance the festivity of the occasion --apple-cheeked figures exude a homey cheerfulness, their brightly colored caps and blanket sparkling against the deep tones of a nighttime forest. After a mug of cocoa in front of their masterpiece and heartfelt renditions of favorite songs, the family returns home, keenly aware of "the secrets all around us" and pleased with the notion that the animals have a place to celebrate Christmas. Parents will take heart at this uplifting book that celebrates the spirit of the season. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.
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