Wellfleet resident Corinne Demas wrote The Perfect Tree for her two-year-old granddaughter Morgan. The book, with illustrations by Penelope Dullaghan, came out this year. Morgan is 14 now, but at her grandmother’s reading at the Wellfleet Public Library on Dec. 3 she said she has not outgrown the book. “Christmas trees are almost as good as bunnies,” she said.
In the story, we follow Bunny on her search for a perfect tree. From sunrise until a full Moon shines high in the sky, Bunny meets other animals and discusses how a perfect tree should look and where to find it. One character is not so sure about the quest. “Maybe there isn’t a perfect tree,” says Deer philosophically.
“Picture books like The Perfect Tree are usually designed for children who are being read to, rather than kids who are themselves reading,” says Demas. She says that’s why the language is richer than that in books for early readers. “But often older kids still like to curl up with them,” Demas says.
Mila Wadsworth, a second-grader at Wellfleet Elementary School, can imagine that. She says she thinks the book can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
“What makes something perfect? Is there such a thing as perfect?” asks Demas. The big questions in this book allow for different discussions depending on the reader’s age, she says.
Mila’s favorite character is Bunny with her long eyelashes. The illustrations, which Penelope Dullaghan created with painted cut paper and digital collage, are “very beautiful,” Mila says.
The book has Mila thinking about what makes for a perfect Christmas tree at her house. “It has to be really tall,” she says, “but not too bushy.” It should be “strong so you can hang things on it and not too wide so we have enough lights to put on it.
“I made my own Christmas decorations,” she adds. “Snowflakes and painted pine cones.”
The book’s snowy scenes and cheerful characters make readers feel cozy and remind us all of what is most important in the holiday season.
“I like that this book is really happy,” says Mila, “and I love that there is a mouse on almost every page.”