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The Great Spruce

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Together with his grandpa, a young boy finds a way to save his favorite tree in this heartwarming Christmas tale
Alec loves to climb treesthe little apple trees, the wide willow trees, even the tall locust trees. But his favorite is the great spruce, with its sturdy trunk and branches that stretch up to the sky. Alecs grandpa planted it as a sapling years and years before
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  239 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Children's Christmas Stories with an Ecological Consciousness
"Alec loved to climb trees," the narrator of this lovely new Christmas book informs us, going on to describe his particular fondness for a huge spruce that his grandfather had transplanted years before. When people from the city arrive and ask his parents for permission to cut down the spruce, in order to use it as the Christmas tree in their big celebration, Alec is aghast, and protests. Surely they can just borrow it?!? And so, rather than cutting (and thereby killing) the tree, it is dug up, ...more
This is a good book to share with young readers during the Christmas holiday season. It tells the story of Alec, his love of climbing trees, and the tall spruce tree his grandfather brought from the forest and planted in the yard. As the years passed and the tree grew, Alec would climb to the top and look out at the land all around. They decorated it every year at Christmas time. One day men from the city came and asked if they could have the tree for the big display. It was a great honor, but ...more
Juliana Lee
Alec and his grandfather have the largest spruce tree in the area. When they decorate it for Christmas, it looks like a giant Christmas Lighthouse. Then men from the big city want to buy it and cut it down for the town square. Alec convinces them to borrow it instead. Everyone works together to dig up the root ball. They take the tree down the river to the big city. A little girl wants to keep the tree forever, and Alec gives her a spruce cone to take home and plant so she can have her own ...more
Sara Grochowski
Great illustrations in this one! A great non-religious pick for the holidays.
Mortisha Cassavetes
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
This is such a wonderful book. I wish more people would read and understand that cutting down trees for a holiday is wrong. Many years ago, people would dig up trees to use as town Christmas trees but now they found it is easier and less costly to just cut one down. Killing off trees is so very wrong and this book addresses this issue. I highly recommend it to kids of all ages. Beautiful illustrations and a heart warming story.
Donna Mork
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A boy loves to climb the great spruce his grandfather planted. One year the town wants to cut it down to use as a Christmas tree. The boy stands in front of it and doesn't let them cut it. He says they can borrow it instead. They dig it up and take it to town. Then later they take a seed and plant it and hope to grow their own tree instead.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2017
I'm thinking the main thrust of this book is to teach kids (and grown ups for that matter) about "transplanting" trees instead of simply cutting them down.

Unfortunately, I found the theme to be overshadowed with the whole Christmas thing. I, myself, was distracted, and I'm sure kids won't walk away thinking about saving trees; they'll see a Christmas story.
Daniel Franklin
This story is an important one and could be used as a great teaching tool about the environment. I really liked the storyline as well as the science piece.

the illustrations within this book are kind of indescribable and are something you must see. they are done with a colored pencil I think but are so detailed and fun.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Boy and his grandpa love the huge spruce. When people ask to take it to the city he says they can borrow it. The tree is dug up, rootball and all, and decorated for the holiday and then returned. I liked the authors note at the end as much as the story. ...more
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Christmas, family, traditions, conservation
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
More like 3.5 stars because I liked the illustrations and the environmental message.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: je, 2017
This is a cool book about a pine tree.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Fun book with a great story, but a little long for my storytime crew.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute holiday (and yet not holiday) story... very different! Save the earth! Hug a tree! :-)
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A unique story with both a holiday and ecological theme.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I have, in recent years, fretted quite a bit about the huge coniferous tree that has been cut each year to adorn Rockefeller Center at Christmastime. This well-written book gives a grand message about ecology without being preachy. Cleverly done, Mr. Duvall! I loved the illustrations, they reminded me of some of the Golden Books I read as a child. Not just for Christmas, but for the whole year through.
Alice Ball
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Alec works hard in this story to protect his beloved Spruce from being cut down for the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. A compromise is made to transport the tree live, and return it and replant it after the holidays.
Really liked the author note at the end.
Kimberly Wright Oelkers
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is the best one about a giant Christmas tree. I love that the author works with preserving trees just like the character in the story.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Beautiful, touching story of a boy, his grandpa, and their large spruce tree.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Duvall, John The Great Spruce Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon PICTURE BOOK G.P. Putnams Sons, 2016. $17.99 Content: G.

A little boy loves to climb trees and his favorite is a big beautiful spruce tree that his grandpa has planted. The tree is so beautiful that some men from the city ask the boys parents if they can cut it down and use it for the Christmas tree in the city. The boy saves the tree and convinces the men to dig it out so it can be returned after Christmas. It is decorated and
Amy Lafleur Meyers
Alec and his grandfather love the giant spruce that grows on their land. Alec likes to climb it and he and his grandpa enjoy decorating it for the holidays. Their spruce is so great that a group of men want to take the tree to decorate and display in the city's holiday celebrations. Alec agrees until the men pull out a chainsaw to cut down the tree. He wonders why can't the men dig up the tree and borrow it instead? The illustrations are beautiful and festive. The story also has a great message ...more
A grandson and grandfather share a special love for a giant spruce tree. They decorate it every Christmas. Then people from town come and express their desire to chop the tree down and use it in the city. The boy protests - the tree should not die. Dig it up and move it. The author adds a note at the end describing how this was one method used for the tree at Rockefeller Center for a short period of time. He also discusses the history of Christmas trees and provides information on how to use a ...more
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Nice story about a grandpa's and grandson's live of their special tree. Plot flows but has some holes for me, especially once the tree arrives in the city. Lovely illustrations. Author note about tradition of Christmas trees and how to move a tree.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
For the last 5 years, we've been planting our Christmas trees on our the trees new life. They are a blessing long after the season is over. I think this was the same message John Duvall was sharing with kids.
Worked well in my Christmas tree storytime for a 3-5 year old group. The art is fun- the kids liked that the dog came along with the family. Nice little message about conserving our natural treasures as well.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting story based on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree which used to be a live transplanted tree, until they deemed it too expensive. The illustrations have a lot of detail but the story can lag for toddlers. But I liked that it showed the process of moving a tree.
Maren Prestegaard
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 really. Ah, the great live/artificial Christmas tree debate.
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved the author's note at the end of the book.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
A "green" Christmas tree story, appropriate for older readers. Great illustrations.
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