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The Star Tree

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In a little house, in a big city, there lived a very old man. He had watched the city grow up around him, seen towering skyscrapers and miles of asphalt swallow the woods and fields, parks and gardens, of his youth. The people who lived in the skyscrapers knew nothing of the old man -- most didn't even know each other.One winter night, the old man sat in his little house, thinking sadly of Christmases long ago when friends and family gathered to tells stories and sing carols. The children would make gold paper stars and hang them in the windows to welcome visitors. The old man sighed. Nowadays, no one in the noisy, impersonal city, filled with garish, glittering holiday lights, would even notice old-fashioned paper stars.

But memory -- and the Christmas spirit -- can be powerful and miraculous, as the old man with his basket full of stars proves in this joyous holiday story.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 1997

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Gisela Cölle

4 books1 follower

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5 stars
9 (13%)
4 stars
30 (46%)
3 stars
19 (29%)
2 stars
6 (9%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for Natalie  all_books_great_and_small .
2,033 reviews70 followers
July 11, 2021
I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

The star tree is a simplybut beautifully illustrated book about how we have let the commercial side of Christmas take over the joy of simplicity and tradition. This book subtly shows how simple can be better and much more beautiful and enjoyable.
This book is a beautiful story to share with all children of all ages and grown ups too. This book has really made me reflect on what really matters at Christmas!
A thought provoking read which is a breath if fresh air!
Profile Image for Cherlynn | cherreading.
1,503 reviews760 followers
June 10, 2021
Set during Christmas, this is a heartwarming read about the joy of giving and sharing. I also quite enjoyed the social commentary about city life: So much hustle and bustle, not stopping to appreciate our surroundings, and the loneliness. My favourite thing about this book would be the beautiful illustrations!

Thank you to Netgalley for an e-ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Andrea Pole.
713 reviews114 followers
June 6, 2021
The Star Tree, written and illustrated by Gisela Colle, is a simple, charming Christmas story about an old man who, perhaps unintentionally, espouses the true meaning of the season.

Frustrated by the bright lights and skyscrapers that threaten to stifle the basest of pleasures, the man produces some simple gold stars and takes them to a park where they are hung from a tree. Here they are admired by a community of people who now have the opportunity to reflect on the peace and serenity that the Christmas season brings, without the distractions of the modern world.

This is a timeless story that will appeal to all ages.

Many thanks to NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for an ARC.
Profile Image for Nomadic  Musings.
108 reviews13 followers
July 8, 2021
I have a love-hate relationship with cities. The volume of opportunities cities give is huge but the noise, the fast-paced setting makes me restless. I feel like screaming some days but I know nobody will hear that. The screams get lost in the city and so do the celebratory cheers. The worst part about living alone in cities is not being able to celebrate traditionally, not being able to connect over food and music peacefully, and not being able to rejuvenate bonds with our loved ones.

You just lose yourself in your day. You work, eat, read and sleep. You seldom think about the ‘people around you. It’s not your fault. It’s the vibe around you. I almost miss how it feels to be cheerful and my true self around people. It’s complicated, it really is.  

The Star Tree by Gisela Cölle//

A big city, a little house and an old man. He had lived there for as long as he could remember. He watched the city grow up, from empty fields to towering skyscrapers.  Nobody knows about this old man. He is lonely.

One winter night, this old man thinks of the Christmases from his time. He cherishes the good memories and times with his friends and family, the gatherings, the carols and the celebration. He smiles at the remembrance of how kids used to make gold paper stars to hang everywhere in the house. He gets saddened by how the noisy and fast city does not celebrate the festivals this way. Everyone is busy in their lives. But this old man decides to do something to beat his blues and that creates a lovely celebratory event for the people around him.

This is a sweet little book with beautiful illustrations that will make you feel nostalgic. It delicately comprises the importance of loved ones, the festivals, the little things and simple pleasure in our lives, memories and loneliness. It ends on a warm and peaceful note that will leave you pondering. I definitely recommend it.

#TheStarTree #NetgallyARC #IllustratedBooks #booksthatmatter
Profile Image for Richard.
1,764 reviews146 followers
June 4, 2021
Originally published in 1977 this book is deemed to be a classic.
For A story not to be lost in time, and discovered for a new generation it needs to be in print and available.

The Star Tree passed me by first time round and I do not recall it as my own children’s favourite. Now as a grandparent I have new responsibilities and a more relaxed view of children’s literature. I have also matured and have grown into a lover of books, such that many now adorn my own bookshelves.

For this book to remain a classic, it needs word of mouth and exposure. I am pleased to do my part as regards the process of writing a review. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this simple story with witty and beautiful illustrations.

At its heart it is a story of how a modern world can forget simple truths that were fundamental in building a society; how business is not an excuse but explains why other things distract and blind our focus on more traditional values.

In the growing metropolis is an old man, (good to identify initially with a character), who doesn’t just harken to an earlier time. He isn’t just critical of others but sorry they haven’t his youthful joy at Christmastime.

He sees the gaudy lights and remembers his own childhood delight and wonderment in this magical season.

So rather than grumbling he does something more positive. He shares something of his past to encourage today’s children and in the process his actions are magnified not just by circumstances, but as a dormant spirit is rekindled.

A joyous addition to Christmas libraries which is not sectarian or religious but shines forth with the magic this special time of year can produce for young and old alike.
Profile Image for Alex  Baugh.
1,950 reviews108 followers
December 17, 2021
This is the story of an old man who lives alone in a house surrounded by tall buildings. He's watched the city grow, the parks and gardens disappear, and people living in apartments who don't know their neighbors anymore. A few days before Christmas, the old man starts thinking about how friends and family would gather round, sing carols and make welcoming golden stars to hang in their windows. Pulling out some gold paper, the old man begins to make stars, lots of stars. He decides to take his stars to the countryside to see them shining in the darkness. When a storm knocks the power out in the city and people find themselves in darkness and silence, they can see the old man and his shining stars on top of a hill. Soon, the old man's neighbors are heading out of the city and up the hill, where they stop and stare in wonderment at his beautiful stars hanging from a tree. Soon, everyone is singing and it begins to feel like Christmas again. The old man gives everyone one of his shining stars, which they take home and hang in their windows and the city shines again with Christmas stars. This is such a charming Christmas story, it has become one of my personal favorites. I particularly like the message it sends about Christmas - the simple pleasure of time spent peacefully with friends and family. This magical story has kind of an old fashion feel to it and the painted illustrations, done in a dreamlike style, are a perfect compliment. If you are looking for a good Christmas Eve tale, this would be ideal.
6,036 reviews67 followers
June 5, 2021
A reasonable plea to cut the Christmas crap – the gaudy municipal decorations that mean nothing, the repeated muzak of the Christmas songs that means even less, and to get back to humble, pleasing, communal celebrations that cost so much less and give so much more. You can't disagree with that sentiment, but I can't agree that the artwork was appealing, which definitely makes me call this no classic. I wanted to like it, but those paintings were so ungainly at times it was quite off-putting.
Profile Image for Srivalli Rekha.
Author 18 books232 followers
June 20, 2021
3.5 Stars
The story is about an old man living in a small house as the city grew around him. He misses the old days when life was simpler and closer to Nature. It’s Christmas time, but he has none to talk to. He makes golden stars from old paper and goes out to decorate a tree on a hilltop. Others from the city soon join him, and he feels the Christmas spirit from the past.
The illustrations are soft and roughish. Almost like the author wanted the drawing to not have sharp edges. The theme of the story is lovely. However, the writing seemed too pale in comparison. I couldn’t feel that level of connection despite the theme. And the text in the ARC copy was way too tiny for a comfortable read.
Overall, it’s a warm book that could have been better.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and NorthSouth Books Inc. and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Anna.
456 reviews
June 19, 2021
Thank you NetGalley and North South Books Inc. for a copy of "The Star Tree" in exchange for my honest review.

This is a delightful read aimed at the Preschool to grade 2 age group. However I think it would appeal to children of all ages. It reminds us of the simple Christmases of the past. How the Christmas spirit is powerful and miraculous.

The story is about an old man who has lived in his house for as long as he can remember. Around him skyscrapers have sprung up and people don't know or care about each other like they used to. A few days before Christmas he is longing for the Christmases of long ago. He is sad that children no longer make gold stars to hang in their windows to welcome visitors. He remembers that he still has some gold paper and he makes some stars but he wonders as he sees all the gaudy Christmas decorations, if anyone would even see his simple golden stars.

He decides to take them out of the city to the countryside where everything is peaceful. A storm comes and rips the gaudy decorations down and the power goes out. In the darkness and silence the people notice a man in the moon and something sparkling. They decide to bundle themselves up and go see what is happening. They find the old man hanging stars from the tree and they twinkle beautifully in the moonlight. Some of the children start to softly sing Christmas carols. The old man gives them some golden stars which they take home and hang in their windows and make more of their own.

The old man is happy because he was able to share a simple Christmas pleasure from long ago. He saw the city shining in the glow of Christmas stars.

A beautiful story to read aloud to children and enjoy as a family, to learn about the true spirit of Christmas.
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books178 followers
July 5, 2021
The most amazing things can be found in unexpected places, and in these pages that message really shines.

A little old man lives alone in the middle of a city. He's lived there a very long time and has watched as the city grew, swallowing up forests with streets and buildings. And while there is so much around him, no one knows he exists. When he remembers the wonderful Christmases from his past, he has an idea, and this spark may be a bit more than he ever dreamed.

This tale has been translated into English from German and carries a lovely, traditional story form. It's wonderful as a read aloud, and as a self-read, great for those who have a slightly better grip on their words. There is a bit more text, since this one does set the scenes and allow the story to bloom.

The illustrations are very artistic. The grays bring across the coldness and impersonal attitude of the city well and really allow the stars to shine. Young listeners can take this one and follow the story on their own as they glance through each page. And there are enough details to keep each scene interesting.

There are a few warming message in this one, and it brings across the atmosphere of Christmas very well. It's inspiring and leaves the reader/listener with a peaceful sense of warmth. I received a complimentary copy through Netgalley.
Profile Image for Catherine Craig (Angelic Light).
873 reviews6 followers
June 22, 2021
I loved this heartwarming Christmas story for children. The book is magical and it has beautiful illustrations and a lovely story, which I really connected with. The story is about an old man who is thinking back to Christmas times that he had a long time ago, where the community held more of the Christmas spirit as they gathered together to tell stories and sing Christmas carols. He lives in a big city with lots of hustle and bustle and no-one seems to care about the real spirit of Christmas or his memories of children hanging gold paper stars to welcome any visitors. The old man decides to decorate a tree in the park with these paper stars and soon the community come to look at them with wonder. The spirit of Christmas is alive once again and the people are filled with joy at this simple spreading of magic and togetherness. My daughter loved the twinkling stars and she enjoyed counting them.

Many thanks to the author, publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
52 reviews3 followers
June 29, 2021
Fanciful illustrations in muted oils accompany this touching story of an old man who has watched the city grow up around him and is nostalgic for a simpler time with warm family and community celebrations; with stories told and songs sung around the stove.
He recalls creating golden paper stars that children hung in their windows to welcome visitors, and begins to cut out stars. In order to escape the bright lights and enable his stars to reflect the moonlight, he travels out to the countryside. But a storm knocks out the power, the city goes dark, and children see the old man and his basket of softly glowing stars silhouetted against the moon. Grateful to see the light, parents and children travel to the star tree. As a child begins singing, the old man gives stars to all of the children as everyone sings. When the families return home their stars fill the city windows with softly glowing, magical light.

This is a sweet, quiet addition to Christmas picture books, perfect for snuggles by the fire.
6,940 reviews26 followers
July 26, 2021
I received an electronic ARC from NorthSouth Books through Picture Book Palooza.
Charming story about returning to a more simple time. The old man at the middle of this story longs for people and to see the simple joys of Christmas again. He creates simple stars and sets out to hang them outside the glaring lights of the city. By happenstance, a storm and power outage occur and others in the city set out to see what he is doing. The children lead the way to a joy filled quieter celebration. The author's point shines through as people gather, celebrate and return to their homes carrying the stars with them. Soft focused illustrations support the story and pull readers in to be part of the man's actions and the whole town's celebration.
Profile Image for Melissa C.
9 reviews2 followers
June 18, 2021
The Star Tree is a children's book about the magic of Christmas. An old man reminisces of a simpler time when Christmas was about beauty and community. When the lights go out in the big city, the old man creates golden stars made of paper to reflect the moonlight. The community comes together to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of Christmas.

This illustrated children's Christmas book reminds us of looking for beauty and magic in the little things in life. It is defined as a classic story, however, it is not one I remember. It was a beautiful story that should last generations. My only issue with this book is the illustrations. They are beautiful but I would prefer them to be more refined. This review is that of an advanced reader's copy so I am hoping that, in the final product, the illustrations can be a little more refined to reflect the beauty they are meant to convey.

I received an advanced reader's copy from #NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Kaeshi.
169 reviews
June 25, 2021
Thank you NetGalley and North South Books for giving me the opportunity to read this. It's a classic, heartwarming story about bringing Christmas back. As some of us know, Christmas is not celebrated how it used to be, especially as everyone gets busier in their city life. The book is definitely great for children at all ages. I was not fond of the writing style and illustrations however. The writing style felt dull for a children's book. As for the illustrations, It was a bit hard to tell what was happening.
Profile Image for Ryan.
4,403 reviews22 followers
August 6, 2021
This is such a simple story, but it’s heartfelt message will last forever. It feels like your grandfather telling you of the time all the Christmas lights went out. Which is what happens in this book. And the grandfather remembers long ago Christmases without the lights, and with simple stars cut from gold paper. Not only is this story beautiful, so are the illustrations. They have an old world feeling, but they seem lit from behind the pages. This was a wonderful story that should be passed on to new generations.
Profile Image for Christine Zandt.
Author 4 books27 followers
December 18, 2021
For a quiet story this busy holiday season, consider Gisela Cölle’s, The Star Tree. A mustachioed old man missed days of yore, far from sprawling urban life. No one even glances at the sky above anymore as they hurry through their busy days.

Cölle’s illustrations echo the rustic simplicity of the text. This timeless classic demonstrates that sometimes less can be more, and by taking that first step, a community can be brought together. You’ll feel inspired to cut out some stars too!
456 reviews2 followers
May 28, 2022
This modern day version of Virginia Lee Burton's THE LITTLE HOUSE, finds an old man living in a city of impersonal people who bustle off to work each day, hurry home exhausted, and never get to feel the wonder of the Christmas season or the joy of the starry nights. When he decides to try filling the neighborhood with Christmas joy, the children soon join in and in a final lovely illustrated contrast, the once-empty windows in the tall apartments each fills with a Christmas star.
Profile Image for Lucy Hudson.
Author 7 books22 followers
June 22, 2021
3.75 stars

A sweet Christmas story of an old man yearning for the days of Christmas past when the world was a bit slower. A storm knocks the power out in the city and gives him the chance to lead the people in an "old-fashioned" Christmas. Unique illustrations, easy story for little ones to follow. 2 and up

Thank you NetGalley for the complimentary copy.
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews160 followers
June 28, 2021
I love the soft illustrations in this book. The way they're done they take on that hazy feel of memory and nostalgia, which is the main focus of the book. There was a bit of a disconnect between the writing and the story, though. If the writing would've been a bit softer this could have been truly magnificent.

This unbiased review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Emilee (emileereadsbooks).
1,313 reviews24 followers
July 12, 2021
Thanks to Netgalley and North South Books for a free digital copy.

A quiet book about slowing down and appreciating the simple joys of Christmas. The Christmas Spirit isn't filled by the flash and glitz, but by humble memories formed with friends and family.
Profile Image for Muskan Modi.
162 reviews
July 17, 2021
This was a cute book. I enjoyed reading it. The story was beautiful and the illustrations were really beautiful. This will be a good bedtime story for children, also highlighting the importance of community,
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,170 reviews2,238 followers
July 17, 2021
All the Christmas vibes except for the fiction that he's not Santa but an old guy who secretly goes out to decorate trees at night.

Love the illustrations. However, I wish the font size and style are beginner friendly.

Thank you, author/artist and the publisher, for the advance reading copy.
1,142 reviews5 followers
August 5, 2021
This was a lovely Christmas story, reminding us to slow down and appreciate the important things in life like family and friends. The illustrations are beautiful and colorful.
12 reviews
June 28, 2021
This is a timeless and heart-warming Christmas tale, perfect to read with your children on Christmas Eve.
The story follows an elderly man who longs for traditional celebrations but feels isolated. The deeper purpose of the book-showing the next generation that generational divisions in society can become obsolete with enough kindness and generosity- has certainly been fulfilled.
The book is cleverly worded to be age-appropriate, engaging, and memorable, accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.
A brilliant read.
Profile Image for Katie.
636 reviews1 follower
June 17, 2021
"I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
This was a sweet secular Christmas book about embracing the simple things. I didn't love the illustrations but overall it was worth reading.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews

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