Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Review: The Star Tree by Gisela Colle

Christmas in July? Sometimes, a few cooler thoughts are heavenly during those hotter days. And if you're like me, you are already seeking a little inspiration when it comes to those self-made gifts, which will need a bit of time to create.

Today's review waves from Germany and follows a more traditional tale direction. I like the stars glistening from the, otherwise, empty branches...yes, another cover caught my attention. Plus, I'm always a sucker for snow. 

by Gisela Cölle
Translated by Rosemary Lanning
NorthSouth Books
Picture Book 
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

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.



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.

And here she is...

Gisela Cölle was born in Zweibrücken, Germany. She studied medicine, illustration, and comic drawing at the University of Applied Sciences for Art and Design in Hamburg. Before she started writing and illustrating picture books, she had primarily painted. She has received numerous awards for her picture books. Gisela Cölle has three children and many grandchildren and lives in Mainz, Germany.

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