Throughout the year when browsing the library shelves, my fingers would often catch a Christmas book. I thumbed through pages as they beckoned me to join their tale. But I resisted check-out. Instead, I scribbled down titles and saved my list, planning and waiting for December. In mid-November, I retrieved the list and began tucking books into my bag and squirreling them away at home. And like the gunshot at the beginning of a race, the day after Thanksgiving was the signal to commence our season's reading.
We snuggle by our own tree, the scent of fir in our nostrils as we prepare to immerse in this simple story. We begin... "Each year on the last day of November, Captain Herman and his crew cut trees to bring to the city in time for Christmas."
We follow the story of the real-life boat captain who annualy traveled from his Michigan home across the lake to Chicago, delivering Christmas trees. We read of his interactions in the city. We read of the year (1912) when his fishing boat is caught in a blizzard. And though the words of the story are captivating alone, the vividly-colored illustrations fuel our imaginations. From the glow of fire in the street lamps to the purple and blue haze of freezing snow flakes and pink shading of the sun, we can feel the setting through the visuals.
So next summer...and every summer...as I begin walking the library rows and yearning for Christmas, this book is sure to again find its way to my list.