{Book Review & Free Printable} The Great Spruce by John Duvall



{Book Review} The Great Spruce by John Duvall

Together with his grandpa, a young boy finds a way to save his favorite tree in this heartwarming Christmas tale.

Alec loves to climb trees—the little apple trees, the wide willow trees, even the tall locust trees. But his favorite is the great spruce, with its sturdy trunk and branches that stretch up to the sky. Alec’s grandpa planted it as a sapling years and years before Alec was born, and every Christmas, Alec and his grandpa decorate the tree together, weaving tinsel and lights through its branches, making it shine bright.

But one day, a few curious men from the nearby city take notice of Alec’s glistening great spruce, and ask to take it away for their Christmas celebration. Though it’s a huge honor, Alec’s heartbroken at the idea of losing his friend. With great courage and creativity, Alec comes up with a plan to save his favorite tree in this joyful holiday tale.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (October 18, 2016)
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.4 x 11.8 inches



Book trailer:


Here’s what I love about this book:

  • Nice positive story promoting concepts of being outdoors, family, community and protecting nature. The young boy saves the tree by offering up an alternative idea.
  • Lovely nostalgic illustrations on oversized pages of high-quality paper. Several scenes have smaller details to explore. Even the end sheets are illustrated.
  • Lots of great verbs, adjectives & prepositions.
  • Historical info at the end of the book about the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
  • Pictured sequence and description for the steps in transplanting a tree at the end of the book.
  • The book has several opportunities for kids yoga: apple tree, willow tree, locust tree, great spruce tree, chair, forward fold digging, gyan mudra spy glass, cross crawl climbing, chainsaw buzzing breath, stop and think of alternatives, crane, boat, bridge, sleigh, smell of Christmas deep breath, plant a pinecone seed.

The “Making Friends with a Tree” guided relaxation script from “Imaginations Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids” would be nice to use at the end of a kids yoga class based on this book.

I made this free printable spruce mandala coloring page to go with the book:


A spruce and ornaments mandala:


Author’s website: http://www.thegreatspruce.com

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.