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The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree

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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  652 ratings  ·  110 reviews
This new classic Christmas gift book "brings together two great traditions: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity." Opening in Depression-era New York City, The Carpenter's Gift tells the story of eight-year-old Henry and his father selling Christmas trees. They give a Christmas tree to construction workers ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  652 ratings  ·  110 reviews


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Lisa Vegan
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christmas reading; anyone who’s enjoyed the Rockefeller Center tree or an inspirational story
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
Well, this one got me crying.

Wonderful book!

I have very fond memories of the Rockefeller Christmas tree. I arrived a couple days after Christmas in New Jersey/New York the year I was 5 and stayed until almost Christmas the next year when I was 6. Seeing the enormous tree and the skaters at Rockefeller Center were highlights of my times in Manhattan.

So, I was fascinated by this story and by the excellent author’s note in the back of the book. I was extremely touched by the circumstances
...more
Shiloah
Beautiful Christmas story!
Kathryn
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Abigail and Lisa
I love this book so much! I wish I had time right now to give it an adequate review, but I already see so many glowing reviews online so I hope that my lack of a detailed one won't reflect negatively on the book. It is just wonderful! I love the heart of this book, the dedication is: “To those who give without looking back and those who receive without forgetting.” Just wonderful, especially around the holidays. I love how the boy and his father, whose family has hit hard times during the Great ...more
Linda Lipko
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a must read during the holiday season. While factional, this is a tale inspired by the true story of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, this is a joy to behold. With wonderful, crisp illustrations of Jim LaMarche, the author weaves a lovely tale of a young boy whose father is, like ever so many during the depression era of the United States, down and out, out of work and unable to provide for his family.

When the father decides to chop down trees and haul them to New York City to
...more
Abigail
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jim LaMarche Fans / Readers Looking for Beautiful Christmas Stories
A poignant holiday tale, one which highlights the importance of generosity, and the joy of unexpected gifts at Christmas-time, The Carpenter's Gift was a pleasure to read! David Rubel's fictional narrative, which is set during the Great Depression, is inspired by the very first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree - set up informally by construction workers on the site, in 1931 - and follows the story of a young boy whose father, out of work and down on his luck, takes him down to New York City to ...more
Sarah
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Heartfelt story, positive message, soft, comforting illustrations, all the Christmas feels. Any other time of the year I might roll my eyes but Christmas takes away the Scrooge in me.
Ms. B
Aug 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, 2014, holiday
One of those feel-good, sentimental stories about the true meaning of Christmas. Some may want a box of tissues nearby.
Andrea
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lashaunda Brown
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Carpenter’s Gift
This is the story of a family who gets a new home from the Rockefeller workers

W6.3a Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

Focus: Flashback as a style of writing
Step-by-step:
1. Discuss how authors use flashback as a means of sharing a meaningful event that occurred in the past
2. Read p.1 (where the flashback occurs- Henry, the speaker, recalls when
...more
Patti
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For my goodreads friends that have kids…

Among my All-Time Favorite ‘Spirit of Christmas’ books are: “Christmas Tapestry” by Patricia Polacco; “The Carpenter’s Gift” by David Rubel; and “The Light of Christmas” by Richard Paul Evans. All are priceless in terms of teaching beautifully that giving IS the true spirit of Christmas. And absolutely appropriate for ANY age that needs such an important reminder.

“The Carpenter’s Gift” is a heart-warming story about New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas
...more
Mary
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great picture book for elementary students during the Christmas season. The story does feature Christmas, but it is more about giving than about the holiday itself. Henry and his father borrow a truck to sell Christmas trees in New York. They sell a big one to the workers building the Rockefeller Center and the next day the workers come to help fix up their house. Henry grows up and moves away, but then returns to the simple house the workers ended up building. Henry had planted a tree next to ...more
Karen
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
2014 - I decided to start a new tradition this year and wrap 25 christmas books and put them in a bin before December 1st. Starting on the 1st, we would pick a book each night, unwrap it and read for the month of December. I wanted a variety of books, some more traditional, some more jolly and others that show the spirit of the holiday. I looked up lists of favorite Christmas books and this one was on it. After reading the description, I knew I had to get it and have it be a part of my new ...more
Bvlmc Buchanan Verplanck Elementary School

Beautifully told, this tale depicts the spirit of Christmas, the generosity of those living through the Great Depression and how they seek to pass on that sense of community and continuity to those who struggle in the next generation. The story touches on how people struggled to earn any money during the depression, the construction projects such as Rockefeller Center that were undertaken during the Great Depression, the importance of a community pulling together and pooling resources to help
...more
Dee
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading the ebook version to a group of special needs adults. They were fascinated with the story.
Heather
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holly Mueller
This is a story of Henry, and it's Christmas Eve, 1931. He and his father sell Christmas tree in Manhattan, and at the end of the day, they decide to give away the lefover ones to some construction workers. The workers have a party and decorate the tallest one, and it becomes the first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Henry finds a pinecone on the ground, and he takes it as a keepsake in order to remember that magical day. The next day, on Christmas morning, the same workers come and help ...more
Christina Fisher
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
In this Christmas tale, a young boy and his father are selling Christmas trees in downtown New York during the Great Depression. As a "pay-it-forward" story plays out, eight year old Henry and his father give the construction workers building the Rockefeller Center a Christmas tree for their efforts, and are rewarded through a Habitat-for Humanity type gift, a new home to replace the shack they used to live in. Henry uses an original pinecone from the Rockefeller tree to plant his own Christmas ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Henry's story is sure to touch many hearts. During the Great Depression, Henry and his parents were living in a little shack, struggling to keep warm. On Christmas Eve, Henry helped his dad cut down and sell Christmas trees in New York City. Henry helped some construction workers decorate one tree and he made a wish. That wish would come true. Many years pass and Henry returns back home, where he passes on the Christmas magic and helps others see their wishes come true. A heartwarming story made ...more
Jessica Harrison
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, picture
Review via Cracking the Cover

Though fiction, “The Carpenter’s Gift” is inspired by Habitat for Humanity’s annual tradition of using donated lumber from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. And in a time when many people are again without homes, it’s a sharp reminder of the impact charity and goodwill can have.

Though it covers a lot of material, “The Carpenter’s Gift” is an engaging tale that school-age children will enjoy and appreciate. The accompanying illustrations evoke a different time
...more
Mirissa Holbrook
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The thing that I liked most about this story is that the title can be interpreted so many different ways. The boy's father gives a gift to a carpenter. The boy is given the gift of a hammer from the carpenter. The boy grows up to be a carpenter and gives the gift of a spruce tree to the people of New York City. More than that, though, because this story is about Christmas, it can also remind the reader about what Christmas is all about. It's about a carpenter who gave His life for the world, ...more
Mrs. Tongate
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas
For fans of NYC, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and Habitat for Humanity. Beautiful illustrations, beautiful story set in 1931 on Christmas Eve. Did you know, a new tradition in 2007 was started by the company that owns Rockefeller Center to have the Christmas tree milled into lumber and Habitat for Humanity to use to build a home for a family in need? #CircleOfGiving #Pinecone #family
Jylene Morgan
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree will be a great book to add to our family Christmas Read-Aloud list. It will stretch the children's imagination to another time ( the depression) and another part of our great country, New York City. Great Illustrations.
Shelli
I did not see anywhere in the book where this is anything but a well told work of fiction. However, after reading this amazing story I truly hope that it has some shred of truth. One boys wish for a better life for his family and the endless capacity of the human heart make for a story for all ages. Touching, beautifully written and illustrated a PERFECT gift to give next holiday season.
Mary
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a very heart-warming story. My older students loved the messages it portrays of family, giving of your time and talents, and helping others. It also ties in some history of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and Habitat for Humanity. Wonderful book!
Bethe
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Winter break bookaday #22. This book was mentioned at the end of the fabulous Red and Lulu, it is a great companion book that I don’t know if I can wait until next holiday season to share with my students, who all heard Red and Lulu read aloud this year. Love LaMarche’s illustrations.
Julie
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming story filled with the kindness, love, and compassion. I absolutely loved this story! The author’s words remind us of the true meaning of Christmas and are a wonderful reminder of all we should be grateful for.
Karen
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Wonderful story about the Rockefeller Center tree. In the back it has a very cool picture of the first tree the construction workers put up. Great book to learn about the history of the Christmas tree that goes up in NY every year. We would love to one day go and see it for ourselves...krb 12/5/17
Ruth
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story with just a tiny bit of schmaltz. Really liked the back matter about Habitat for Humanity. I didn't know that the tree is milled and the lumber donated to help build houses. What a wonderful tradition.
Stephanie
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: january
This book would be such a great Christmas story. I love the meaning behind this story. It brings good memories of Christmas when I grew up. I think that children can connect to this story really well because they can relate to the kid in this story in some way.
Diana Anstett
Dec 11, 2012 marked it as to-read
Summary: Christmas book about traditions.
Classroom use: Holidays, enhancement reading
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David Rubel has made a career of bringing history alive for readers of all ages.

Recognized nationally as an author, speaker, and historian, David has written fifteen books and edited a dozen more during his twenty-five years in publishing. Most of these titles focus on making American history accessible to a broad audience. Working with many of the country’s finest historians—including Pulitzer
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