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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Little Rocky is a Norway Spruce tree. He’s not as big as the other trees in the forest. Nor is he as strong, and his branches are bent the wrong way and his needles are seldom green. All Rocky wanted was to be chosen as the Rockefeller Christmas tree. There was an annual contest and the winning tree was covered in decorations and allowed to stand tall and proud for all to see. When the wildlife inhabitants of the forest heard of Rocky’s dream, they laughed. When a tall, lush spruce tree called Bruce Spruce heard, he laughed too. But Mary Louise, Guardian of the Forest, a fairy, didn’t laugh. She told Rocky to believe in himself and then he would outshine the others. So believe he did, and amazing things started to happen.
There is nothing more important in this life than the simple fact of believing in ourselves. This is a very important lesson that we all must learn and relearn over and over again. Jennie E. Nicassio’s beautifully illustrated picture book story, Rocky: The Rockefeller Christmas Tree, is a charmer for all ages. Not only does the author tell a significant story about Rockefeller’s Christmas tree tradition (actually a footnote at the end to outline this tradition might be a good idea), but she also presents the theme of believing in oneself, something we don’t do often enough. For in our belief lies our inner beauty and strength and that’s the important lesson that Rocky learned, as did the other creatures in the forest, including his main opponent, Bruce Spruce. Well done!