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Christmas Farm

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  260 ratings  ·  47 reviews
When Wilma decides that her garden needs a new beginning, she gathers string, scissors, shovels, sixty-two dozen balsam seedlings, and Parker, her five-year-old neighbor. Year after year, Wilma and Parker nurture their trees, keeping careful count of how many they plant, how many perish, and how many grow to become Christmas trees.
          This companion to the award-winn
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Harcourt
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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  260 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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What does it take to grow all those Christmas trees? This story is about a woman who has a Christmas tree farm. They care for the trees over 5 years and then they sell them to the public. Many of the trees are lost to deer, moose and weather, but the majority survive.

I actually enjoyed this story quite a bit, but it is a patient story over a long period of time. I don’t think it’s for impatient readers who want something to happen. I am a patient reader and I enjoyed the smooth and even pace.

Absolutely and utterly magical (and also while indeed fictional, still patently realistic feeling and sounding) is Mary Lynn Ray's Christmas Farm, the sweet account of how one woman (Wilma) decides to purchase seven hundred and forty four seedling balsam firs to plant and raise as Christmas trees (with the help of her young neighbour friend Parker, who at the beginning of Christmas Farm is but five years of age) and how after ten long years of waiting, of tending their planted trees, five hundre ...more
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! A beautiful, sweet, gentle story about a tree farm. I really liked how the neighbor boy helped and learned so much. This is just so warm and cozy! Even though it is about Christmas trees it takes place across years and seasons as the seedlings grow so I could be enjoyed any time of year. I gained a new understanding and appreciation for real Christmas trees. Illustrations are lovely, too.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Christmas Tree Lovers
Recommended to Abigail by: Manybooks
Author Mary Lyn Ray and illustrator Barry Root, who previously collaborated on Pumpkins: A Story for a Field and Alvah and Arvilla , join forces again in Christmas Farm. When Wilma decides she wants to try something different with her garden, the idea of Christmas trees comes to her. Enlisting the help of Parker, her young neighbor, she plants sixty-two dozen (744) balsam trees. She and Parker care for the trees, over the coming years, and although they lose some to frost, and to wild animals ...more
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book aloud to my children.

The story is about a woman named Wilma who loves to garden but wants something more of a challenge than the same old petunias and sunflowers. While chopping down a tree (I love this independent woman!) in the forest on her property, she realizes that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to grow their own Christmas trees. And so her plan begins to grow a Christmas tree farm.

With the help of the five-year old boy next door, she measures the rows, digs t
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for anything related to snow, Christmas trees and farms, so this book had a great start already. But it's she story of the woman and the little neighbor boy that I really loved. Very heartwarming.

The pictures are very beautiful too.
Denise Barbara Ann
This is a wonderful book! The partnership of young and "Old" working together is heart warming. I gave this book to my nephew, who now has a family of 6 children and 1 cat, for Christmas, along with an ornament of a station wagon with a tree attached to the top.
Every year he, his wife, and kids chop down a Christmas Tree just like his Dad, mom, brother and he did for so many years. We on the other hand lived in Brooklyn and bought our trees at Christmas Tree pop-ups in empty lots.
It's lovely t
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Loved this! The warmth and cadence of the writing style reminded me of Cynthia Rylant. And the watercolor/gouache illustrations were the perfect accompaniment. Made me dream of writing my own Christmas tree farm story. :)
This is a very simple story of how Christmas trees are grown. While I liked the bond between the old lady and her neighbor, the story was rather boring. What kinds of things does Peter tell the trees? The illustrations are a bit abstract and don't really do anything for me. This book includes a history of Christmas tree farms in the United States.
This is such a darling book. The story is sweet, and the illustrations wonderful.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story of patience and dedication. After years of tending a garden of flowers, Wilma decides to try her green thumb at growing Christmas trees and recruits young Parker to help her. As Parker grows, the young trees grow, too. Some are lost each year--to Moose nibbling on their branches, to mice and deer munching on them, to ice. But they still have fifty dozen when the trees are mature enough to sell. With the trees, they spread Christmas cheer: "Far away, too, in rooms they never saw ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cont-real-fict
In this story, Wilma decides to plant something other than sunflowers. She has a lovely hill in which she selects her Christmas tree each year, but wonders how others get their trees if they don't have a hill like hers. So, she decides to plant Christmas trees.
The story follows the process of planting, nurturing, and trimming the trees to sell. Many trees are lost to animals and weather, but that's the reason why tree farms plant so many every year. Also, trees take a long time to grow, seven y
Luisa Knight
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
There's a lot of love and care that goes into a Christmas Tree Farm!

This delightful book follows Wilma and her little neighbor friend, Parker, as they tend to a tree farm and watch their trees grow. And the illustrations are as picturesque as holiday cards!

Share the story of a tree with your children!

Ages: 4 - 9

Cleanliness: mentions Halloween and jack-o-lanterns.


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Oh, how I love this book. It's a new favorite. The illustrations are enchanting and the story of an older woman planting Christmas trees with the help of her young neighbor is beautiful. I never knew it took that many years to harvest Christmas trees. Now, in addition to my dream of one day owning a farm with an orchard and a pumpkin patch, I want to add Christmas trees. Just lovely. Every fall, I let my kids pick two books to buy from the book fair. This one was my special treat for myself. :)
Rosa Cline
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas, kids, favorites
This was a wonderfully written story that explains in a story way of how Christmas trees are 'born' and how long it takes one to grow until you can cut it and use it. An elderly lady sets out to do something more with her land other than her sunflowers. and with the help of the little boy next door they take the tree saplings and plant them, take care of them and as the seasons change the story follows the care of the two with the trees. Wonderful story of friendship between the elderly lady and ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Beautiful story of nature, friendship, patience and perseverance. I love the inter generational relationship. Well written and beautifully illustrated. My 6 year old pulled out the calculator to see exactly how many trees they lost each winter. An unexpected math adventure, with her clutching the calculator in anticipation for the next season.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this new addition to my children Christmas picture books. A great story of a woman and a little boy who lived next door, growing Christmas trees out in the country. Love Wilma and Parker. As the trees develop and grow so does Parker. A lovely Christmas tale.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book really captured my imagination. I love the unlikely friendship it contains, the things it teaches me about the growth and time and trees, the beautiful illustrations, and the sense of anticipation it cultivates for Christmas
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
To me this is less a Christmas story and more a story about entrepreneurship, friendship and hard work. I think my 6 yr old really liked that the boy was 5 when the story started so she could imagine herself in his shoes.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story itself gives young readers a feel for how long it takes to raise this crop. The additional information was educational regarding the relatively brief history of trees as an industry.
Feb 07, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2016-my-books
Lovely illustrated book about the life cycle of Christmas trees. A sweet seasonal read for young children.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great drawings, fun story, and accurate.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
An utterly delightful children's read that put a smile on my face :)
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful story, all about growing a Christmas tree farm. Barry Root's illustrations were fabulous.
Jessica Conant
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very sweet book about a woman who has her young neighbor start and care for a Christmas tree farm. Read aloud to my 5 year old daughter we both found it enjoyable
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like this better as a fable about growth, and as a story of an inter-generational friendship, than as a straight story about a tree farm. Despite what the author's note says, I'm not convinced a tree farm is good for wildlife. Of course, plastic trees aren't, either, and many people don't have yards where they can grow a tree. Anyway, it's mostly a lovely story and the illustrations suit.
Liza Gilbert
Jul 31, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
An odd, rather pointless picture book about a woman who decides to change her gardening habits from petunias to Christmas trees. She and the next door boy, Parker (who is 5) manage to plant 62 dozen Christmas trees. Yeah right. I was hoping that the Christmas angle might make it appealing to kids and families, but the Christmas bit only appears at the end and is unsatisfying.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: holiday
If you get asked this question, "Mommy where do Christmas trees come from?" just read this book aloud to give the explanation... or you could just say the stork brings them and give your kid a Mountain Dew.

Mom (Tash)
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Grandma gives this book 5 stars!!!This is a GREAT book for the upcoming season!! Not your typical Christmas book, and very interesting. The illustrations are charming. I'm sure you will like it as much as your children. Please look for it. You'll be glad you did!
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a nice book for the kids around Christmas time about a woman who starts growing Christmas trees.
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Mary Lyn Ray is a conservationist and author of several picture books for children. She was born in Louisiana in 1946 and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. Ray has lived in New England since 1964, when she first came east to attend college. She currently lives in a 150-year-old farmhouse in South Danbury, New Hampshire, which she restored herself.
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