Name of Book: The Pine Tree Parable
Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Illustrator: Nancy Munger
Publisher: Tommy Nelson, Inc.
Audience: Although this book is recommended for children ages 3-7, I believe that this would be a great book for older children and adults about stewardship and tithing.
Summary: A farmer and his family nurture tiny seedlings for many years until they grow to be fragrant Christmas trees that they can sell to their neighbors. The farmer’s wfe puts a gold star at the top of the tallest and most beautiful tree and she decides that it is not for sale for she intends to keep it for her family. On Christmas eve, a poor family comes to the farm to cut down a ragged, drooping tree because it is the only one that they can afford. Then their young daughter notices the tallest, most beautiful tree with the gold star and asks her parents if they can buy it. Knowing that the family cannot afford the tree, the farmer’s wife tells the little girl that it is not for sale, but she can have it as a gift.
Literary elements at work in the story (Genre/setting/characterization/plot/theme/point of view/style): This book is the fourth book in a seasonal seriesthat all feature the farmer and his wife and kids. Each book in the series is brimming with vibrant, colorful watercolor illustrations that warm the heart. It is about giving out of generosity and the joy and love that comes each Christmas season.
(How) does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? Although the farmers give their best Christmas tree to a poor family that visits their farm, they are not perceived as being financially wealthy either. But out of generous hearts, they give their most prized possession to another family in need. If the farmers were a wealthy family, then it would be easy not to relate to their generouse gift, but when the reader recognizes that they are just simple farmers, then the reader can appreciate the price of their gift even more.
Theological conversation partners: This story is about so much more than the gift of a Christmas tree. The farmers could have given any tree from their lot, but they chose to give the tallest, most beautiful tree of all to the poor family. When we are called to give of our time, talents, and treasures to the ministry of the church, we are not called to give whatever we have leftover. We are called to give our best. The author cites 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one should give, then, what he has decided in his heart to give…God loves the person who gives happily.”
Faith Talk Questions
- Think about something that is very special to you, maybe it is your favorite toy or book. How would you feel about giving it away to someone in need? How would the person in need feel about receiving it?
- What are some things that you are willing to give generously? What are some things that you are trying to keep for yourself? Why? What keeps you from giving generously?
This review was prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Amanda North.
The Pine Tree Parable by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.