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The Fir Tree

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  430 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
The tale is about a fir tree so anxious to grow up, so anxious for greater things, that he cannot appreciate living in the moment. The tale was first published 21 December 1844 with "The Snow Queen" in Copenhagen, Denmark by C.A. Reitzel. One scholar indicates that "The Fir-Tree" was the first of Andersen's fairy tales to express a deep pessimism.
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published October 28th 1970 by Harper & Row (first published 1844)
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A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. SeussThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. MooreThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Favorite Christmas Books
172nd out of 796 books — 1,109 voters
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If You Were A Tree --
40th out of 179 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 739)
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May 12, 2016 Jean rated it did not like it
I think I am going to have to stop reading anything by Hans Christian Andersen, and go on to something more light-hearted and optimistic, such as Russian literature perhaps (insert icon for irony here). But here goes ...

The Fir Tree is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, published in 1844, at the same time as his other deeply pessimistic tale "The Snow Queen" link here for my review.

And now I find I can't bear to relive this story in much detail, in order to review it properly. But I'll
Lovely read about our need to be able to appreciate things as long as we have them. Also very, very sad. Plus, the cover for this edition is stunning!
Dec 18, 2011 Jana rated it it was amazing
What a great reminder to appreciate and enjoy each stage of life! This is a short story & a must read!
Karina Petersen
Meget fin, dog noget sørgelig historie. Men med en morale i top, som kun H.C Andersen kan bedst, hvor min datter og jeg efter endt læsning fik en god og lang snak om at man skal være glad for det man har, og være i tiden man er i. Og ikke mindst at jeg skal blive lidt bedre til, at være til stede - altså sådan generelt. Men hvem kan ikke blive bedre til det med al den teknologi og forstyrrelser, som vi er en del af i næsten alle døgnets 24 timer.
Dec 24, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Gundula
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie☯
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Out in the woods amongst his many large companions, a nice little fir tree is keen to grow up. Read by Paul Copley.
Aug 07, 2016 Jeimy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moving fable by Hans Christian Andersen which illustrates the old adage, "be careful what you wish for…" Reading it in the 21st century, it takes on ecological and environmental themes as well.

Thanks, NetGalley, for introducing me to Sanna Annukka's stunning artwork! This one will also make its way to both my personal and classroom libraries.
Wayne McCoy
Oct 10, 2016 Wayne McCoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Fir Tree' by Hans Christian Andersen gets a gorgeous new edition with illustrations by Sanna Annukka. They don't make the story any happier, but they add some beauty to the pages.

The story is of a fir tree living in the woods. At first he is not tall enough to be chosen and resents the rabbits who jump over him. He wants more and yearns for it. Eventually, he grows tall enough and is chosen as a Christmas tree and thinks his life will only get better and better. This is not what happens.

Kira Welch
Mar 10, 2013 Kira Welch rated it really liked it
I love Hans Christian Andersen so I wanted to read something by him that I had not read yet. The Fir Tree is a cute little story about a fir tree that wants to grow up so bad. He looks around at all the other trees and wants to be as big as they are but thinks he will never get there. However learns the hard way that even though you are grown, there are still obstacles you will have to face. I think this book would be great to read to children to get them to enjoy their childhood. All children w ...more
Nathan Phillips
Oct 17, 2013 Nathan Phillips rated it liked it
The Fir Tree is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. It is a story about the life of a fir tree who is always looking towards a great future. I liked the way this story encouraged me to think more positively of the present than longing for future happiness.

I found the character of the fir tree interesting because it developed from being like a little child, wanting to be older, to realising that it should have enjoyed life while it was young. This becomes especially obvious near the end when
Jenny - Book Sojourner
We discovered that this was not a great Christmas book. Though it is about a fir tree, and Christmas does occur, my kids and I found this story a bit too melancholy and depressing for our liking. There is certainly something to be learned from the fir tree, his lack of contentment, and then his too late reflection on the past. But not a great bedtime story. Oops.
Diana Oliveira
Dec 19, 2015 Diana Oliveira rated it it was amazing
This is a nice fairy tale if only very sad and melancholic.
It presents a very important life lesson: even though it might appear that what other have is so much better, that may only be appearance; take comfort in what you do have and rejoice in every thing day.

Very appropriate for this time of year.

Sep 22, 2016 Allison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

Although first published on December 21, 1844, this new addition includes beautiful illustrations by Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Because I received this copy in an eBook format, I was not able to enjoy the illustrations nor was I really able to get an authentic feel for the book, which was rather unfortunate. I will have to visit a bookstore, or purchase a copy for myself, to really get a feel for the full scope of this beautifully-illustrated editions of Hans Christian Ander
Amanda Rogozinski
Oct 20, 2016 Amanda Rogozinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This certainly is a nice gift edition of a Christmas classic, and looks beautiful around the house and exciting to pull out of a Christmas box for yearly readings. Even so, I was a little disappointed by the translation and artwork. The artwork is interesting and colorful, giving perspective to the various points of the story, but artistically it is not very impressive, being graphic art formed on a computer rather than by hand. I find this style lacking sensitivity and the human element. Transl ...more
Coral Davies
Apr 07, 2016 Coral Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet little tale about not growing up to fast and to beware getting what you wish for. To take time to enjoy and appreciate what you do have rather than constantly hoping for "better" things as they may not be as wonderful as you presume.
Jan 06, 2012 Samantha rated it liked it
Recommended to Samantha by: Alexandria King
This book is a wonderful story that teaches its readers to enjoy being young while you can, because you cannot relive the past. A charming holiday tale. =)
As you get older, there comes a point when you look back at childhood stories and see that there’s something not right about many of them. Hans Christian Andersen’s tales are like this – there is something dark and deceptively twisted. Since these particular two share a similar new publication, I am reviewing them together. “The Snow Queen”: in which Gerda sets out to find her lost best friend Kay, and “The Fir Tree”: in which a sentient fir tree gets removed from its forest home and is introduc ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Lyanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very sweet story with amazing illustrations!
Oct 01, 2016 Theediscerning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A more than welcome USA premiere for this British edition of a Hans Christian Andersen classic. The artwork is great – never have so many delightful images come out of multiplying geometric forms, to make the tree, the forests, the rooms said tree sees inside a house. And the story is fine, too, being a very pertinent lesson about the perils of hastening to grow up too quickly, and the joys of an innocent, concern-free childhood. A fine gift book, where every element has been well crafted. Recom ...more
Dec 09, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
This tells a lesson we should all learn. I decided to read a Christmas story a day starting the day after Thanksgiving but had family here for several days. To catch up, I read several smaller books in a couple of days and am so glad this was one of them! Ha! Live in the moment! Reading this story while frantically trying to complete some kind of competition with MYSELF over finishing a goal that was supposed to have been set for fun and Christmas cheer, well, let's just say this was an eye-open ...more
Oct 18, 2016 Lenoire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tragic tale of greed and unhappiness with updated illustrations from Finnish illustrator, Sanna Annukka. The little fir tree is sad that he is short and rabbits jump over him. Unfortunately, the little fir tree grows bigger until he becomes a Christmas tree and life is not what he hopes for. A short tale of learning to enjoy the moment and appreciating what you are given in life.

The rich forest green cloth bound novel is embellished gold foil. A perfect tale for the holiday season for both chi
Sep 02, 2016 Giovanni rated it did not like it
The story of a small tree who wishes to become a beautiful tall tree, and then a beautiful Christmas tree. When he actually become a Christmas tree that will be the best moment of his life, which becomes sad afterwards. I believe with this story the author invites us to appreciate what we have. However, the punishment for not doing so seems too big, as in other Andersen tales. No redemption in Andersen world.
Nov 21, 2015 Olivia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Though this book takes place partially during Christmas, I would not consider this to be a holiday book. Basically, it's about a tree that is rarely happy throughout it's life, then it dies. It might be a good read for older children or even adults, but the whole thing is kind of melancholy and I would not read it to younger children, especially not sensitive ones.
A Girl Has No Name
Dec 14, 2014 A Girl Has No Name rated it really liked it
I always enjoyed Andersens stories during my childhood and as I discovered today they still touch me deeply! Deep and sincere in it's simplicity. It remembers us to enjoy the present, instead of thinking ahead all the time.

“If I had only been happy in those days! But now it is too late!”
Aug 07, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never read this novella before, but of course I'd heard of the author! It was so, so sad, but had a great lesson in it. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and draws you in. It's an easy read and one I think children and adults will like. I would recommend this book. 4 out of 5 stars.
Dec 27, 2015 Amber rated it really liked it
Such a sad story, but it teaches such a valuable lesson. Be grateful for what you have in every moment. Don't spend all of your days wishing for the next, because looking back you realize how magnificent your life has been, but you never truly enjoyed it. Such a great lesson.
Vaishali Joglekar
Jun 19, 2015 Vaishali Joglekar rated it really liked it
Such a sad tale about the life of a Christmas tree ... and a cautionary story about the dangers of wanting to growing up too fast, and thinking the grass is greener on the other side..
Best line ever: "I heard it on my happiest evening, but I did not know then how happy I was."
Sep 19, 2016 Kristine rated it it was amazing
The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late September.

Beautifully poignant, this book is about the stages of life and why you should appreciate life while it's being lived. It's also framed by Germanic triangley, woodcut-like illustrations.
Mar 05, 2015 Ozlem rated it really liked it
A good reminder for people to embrace the present and be happy with who they are and where they are, to enjoy every second of their life instead of making themselves miserable with pessimistic thoughts all the time.
Harvey Harvey
a good story providing strong example of living in the moment and being appreciative of what we have and not wishing for something/the future.
May 01, 2014 Kasper rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A very touching fable, one of my favorites from Andersen, about the importance of enjoying life instead of always looking ahead.
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Hans Christian Andersen (often referred to in Scandinavia as H. C. Andersen; April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author and poet. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children; his stories—called eventyr, or "fairy-tales"—express themes that transcend age and nationalit ...more
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