25 Days – Book 1: Little Tree

Day 1 of our picture book countdown to Christmas begins this year with a sweet little ode to a tiny Christmas tree. Here is Little Tree by e.e. cummings, illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray, 1923/1987.


I stumbled upon this one a year or two ago and was immediately drawn to it for several reasons. During high school, I discovered the poetry of e.e. cummings and I fell hard. I wrote a lot of poetry during my teenage years, all of which remains hidden somewhere at my parents’ home, hopefully never to see the public eye. I loved poetry and felt its very artistic form of writing. I was also drawn to e.e. cummings in particular for his experimentation in typography and especially punctuation. It is a very odd thing to discover a professional person who completely breaks societal rules with their work. I found him fascinating, in form and expression.

The text for Little Tree was written in 1923. It is a beautiful poem, set actually on one page as cummings would have intended it in the back of this book as well. It is sweet and tender, written from the voice of a child choosing, caring for, and decorating a tiny Christmas tree.

Deborah Kogan Ray has done a delightful job setting cummings’ poem in the city. Her illustrations are soft and not overly detailed. They exude a warm feeling, much like the season of Christmas warrants. Since I discovered this book once we moved to the city, it holds particular joy for me as it quite closely mimics the feelings we experience of walking to a street tree seller, selecting a small tree to fit our apartment, carrying it home, and decorating it. It is a tradition we cherish and this book captures that feeling.

“and my little sister and I will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
‘Noel Noel'”

See you tomorrow as we make our way to Christmas with 25 Children’s Books in 2017!

8 thoughts on “25 Days – Book 1: Little Tree

  1. Hello, And good start of the Cheery Season of books and wow I do like e e cummings gsgs….! There is a dear book for children on his life, a biography that fits right write into you story and ideas on sharing Christmas with a child through books. e. e. cummings. Enormous Smallness. by Matthew Burgess. Illus. Kris Di Giacomo.
    thanks. atk

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    1. Hi Annette! I love Enormous Smallness! We don’t have it, but it has been on my wishlist since it came out. I’m showing considerable restraint in not buying it. Ha! Thanks for following along and commenting!

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  2. I just discovered this poem the other day when looking for poems about christmas trees. I first found it just on the internet but then looking through my favorite poetry book a few days later to find poems for December it was featured in there as well. I posted it when my family decorated our christmas tree.

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    1. Smart move not pulling them all out. I have too many and plan on buying a couple more this year too. It’s a sickness! I don’t want to say how many I counted this year in my collection (let’s just say it is right under 75). I always pull several from the library too, so that helps me stop buying EVERYTHING. There are just so many good ones! And it was fun to pull them all out from behind our sofa and my girls flipped at the ones they remembered and discovering new ones. Thanks for following and commenting too!

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