Written and Illustrated by Guido van Genechten
Clavis Publishing, 2004
It is almost Christmas, but Ricky’s family doesn’t have a Christmas tree yet.
What’s up with this tree? It’s bringing this father and son together
Ricky really wants a Christmas tree but his parents have been too busy to get one. Finally, his dad agrees to go, but insists that they hurry. They head out together into the cold snow. Ricky pulls an ‘ice carrot’ off the roof and offers some to Dad, who isn’t interested. When they get to the market, Dad wants to buy the first tree he sees, but Ricky wants to look at all of them and he picks out a big tree. They’re working together to pull the tree home on their sled when the rope breaks and they tumble down a hill. After a moment, Dad starts laughing and then he throws a snowball at Ricky. They play together in the snow for a while and Dad mentions that he’s forgotten how much fun snow can be. They tie the rope again and pull the tree home, where Mom greets them with kisses. They decorate the tree together and Mom and Dad both admit to always wanting a big tree. Ricky and Dad share the ice carrot and Dad wishes him a merry Christmas.
Author/illustrator Guido van Genechten wrote seven books about Ricky, who was known as Rikki in Mr. van Genechten’s home in Belgium. I loved this story’s message about the importance of slowing down, especially during the holidays, to spend time and play with your children. We placed a high priority on having fun with our kids when they were young and I think that those times were a strong contributing factor in the friendship we have now that they are adults. It’s nice that Ricky’s father is not painted as a bad guy here; he’s just very busy, which is something we can all relate to these days. The final picture, of the family cuddled together in the glow of the Christmas tree, makes a great heartwarming conclusion.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that there’s no better gift at Christmas time than spending quality time with the ones you love.