Cover image for A Christmas tree in the White House
A Christmas tree in the White House
Hines, Gary.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holt, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 22 x 26 cm
President Theodore Roosevelt does not approve of cutting down living trees just to be used as Christmas decorations, but his two young sons try to sneak one into the White House anyway.
Reading Level:
AD 240 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.8 0.5 35392.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.9 2 Quiz: 20089 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Holiday
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Work Room
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday

On Order



When President Theodore Roosevelt announces that there will be no White House Christmas tree because cutting down trees is against his conservation efforts, his youngest sons, Quentin and Archie, are deeply disappointed. They can't imagine Christmas without a tree. The two determined boys enlist the help of their aunt and sneak a small tree into their bedroom. When the president finds out, he takes the boys to see the chief forester in hopes of teaching them a lesson. But the chief forester says cutting down smaller trees will help the taller ones grow. "Isn't that bully!" says the president, and the boys shout, "Hooray for the tree!" Gary Hines and Alexandra Wallner bring this story, based on actual events, to life in a light-hearted text matched with bright, cheerful art. Young readers will enjoy this humorous episode in history and relish the children's "victory" over their father. At the end of the book, there is a photograph of the Roosevelt family and an author's note on Roosevelt, his children, and the real Christmas tree.

Author Notes

Gary Hines is the author of several books for children. He lives with his wife, author-illustrator Anna Grossnickle Hines, in Milford, Pennsylvania. Alexandra Wallner has illustrated several books about literary and historic figures. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York City, she lives in Philadelphia with her husband, illustrator John Wallner.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 5-7. Loosely based on a true event, this picture book recalls the story of President Theodore Roosevelt's refusal to allow a Christmas tree in the White House because having one would conflict with his conservation program: "It's not good to cut down trees for mere decoration. We must set a good example for the people of America." When Roosevelt discovered that his sons Quentin and Archie had sneaked a small tree into their room, he marched them over to see his chief forester, who informed them all that if done right, cutting some trees is a good idea, as thinning a forest allows smaller trees to grow. After that the Roosevelts had a small tree each year. A black-and-white photograph of the Roosevelts follows the story, accompanied by some information about the family and the events on which the story is based. Wallner's gouache illustrations capture the dress and decor of the times, making this an interesting historical piece as well as a book for any Christmas collection. (Reviewed October 1, 1998)0805050760Helen Rosenberg

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3‘A delightful story that's part fact and part fiction, set during the Teddy Roosevelt administration. Christmas is just around the corner but the president refuses to cut down an evergreen to decorate the White House. Although his six children beg for one, the commander in chief believes that his conservation efforts are too important to compromise. Nevertheless, his two youngest sons conspire with their aunt and sneak a small tree into their bedroom closet. Snappy dialogue, lots of action, and a small conspiracy quickly move the plot along. Underlying the playfulness, however, is the portrayal of a man who is adamant in his beliefs. Hines ends the account with brief notes characterizing Roosevelt and explaining what actually occurred. Charming gouache illustrations give the book a folksy appearance. Additionally, Wallner subtly shows varied textures through skillful use of lines. This well-done presentation may inspire readers to find out more about Roosevelt, his conservation efforts, and his family.‘MMH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.