Make your own free website on


Night Tree by Eve Bunting
Rose Wilder Lane
(My Home Business) Vintage Garden Graces
Published Work
Speaking Engagements
Contact Us

Christmas Literature-Based Book Study

Night Tree

by Eve Bunting/ Illustrated by Ted Rand



Read the story from beginning to end the first time, then open to the first picture of the family loading the pick-up truck outside their home.

Ask your child:

_______ What time of day is it? (Nighttime)

How can you tell? (Dark/ Lights in house showing/Full-moon)

_______ What season is it? (Winter)

How can you tell? (Trees are bare/Family is wearing coats and hats)

_______ What holiday is it? (Christmas)

How can you tell? (Christmas tree in window/Wreath on door/Lights on house)

_______ Does the family live in the city? Or country? (Country)

Where does your family live?

_______ What is the family loading into the truck?

Where do you think the family is going in the truck?

Why do you think that?

(Answers will varyno right or wrong answerlet the child explore his imagination then tell him "Lets see...Turn the page.")

* * * * *

Ask your child:

_______ Does the family look happy?

_______ Does this family look like our family?

How are they the same?

How are they different?

_______ What are the other people doing in the picture?

(Your child will probably focus on the family in the truckhave him observe the side streets with Christmas shoppersask him what he would be shopping for if he were on that street looking in the shop windowsits a good chance for parents to take notes for Christmas gifts)

_______ After you read the page, ask your child if his guess was rightis the family going where he thought they were going?

* * * * *

______ Make a list of the trees mentioned on the next page (oaks, alder, maples, pines, spruces and firs)

______ Plan to take your child on a nature walk outside with this list to see what trees are in your yard...bring drawing paper and crayons to do bark rubbings then research the different types of trees on the Internet or in a nature book

* * * * *

_______ Would you like to walk through the woods in the cold and dark?

* * * * *

_______ Find a photo of a deer in a hunting/outdoor/nature magazine and cut out.

_______ Give your child:

*a sheet of black construction paper

*star stickers

*yellow foam piece or construction paper circle (for the moon)

*Easter grass (for the grassy terrain)

*twigs (for barren trees)

*deer picture

________ Have your child duplicate (with these materials) the picture of the family seeing a deer on this page (save some star stickers for laterand dont use the moon just yet)

* * * * *

________ Everyone take turns measuring one another to see how tall theyve grown this year

* * * * *

________ Discuss how owls hunt in the night for their food.

Owls are *carnivorous*...ask your child what does this mean (it means they eat meat).

Ask your child what food does an owl eat. (Mice, rabbits, frogs, birds)

Ask your child if he thinks an owl as teeth or not. (No, an owl doesnt have teeth)

So how does he eat his prey? (Swallows it whole or in large chunks)

If you can get an owl pellet (you can order these online), now would be a good time to dissect one.

_______ If you find a picture of an owl in a magazine, cut it out and have your child add it to his nighttime picture

_______ What secrets do you think lurk in the woods?

* * * * *

_______ What is in the box?

_______ What do you think the popcorn chain is for?

* * * * *

_______ Was your child correct about the popcorn chain?

* * * * *

_______ The family decorates the tree with balls of sunflower seeds, nuts, breadcrumbs, apple, popcorn, and tangerines.

Ask your child why he thinks the family is decorating the tree with food.

_______ Discuss various seeds...get some seeds of your own and spread them in the yard for bird visitors

_______ Place a green felt tree on your childs nighttime picture and let him decorate it with various seeds and red paint balls for apples

* * * * *

________ Ask your child what he thinks the family is doing?

Why does the father turn off the lantern?

What is the family waiting for?

* * * * *

_______ Ask your child why he thinks the family does this as a yearly tradition.

_______ Listen to "Oh Come, All ye Faithful!" on CD/tape or sing it as a family.

* * * * *

________ Point out the stars behind the trees

Let your child add his star stickers to his nighttime picture

Have your child add his moon piece *swinging lopsided on top* of his Christmas tree.

_______ How is the boy in the story being helpful? (He is carrying his sisters boots)

_______ What two purposes did the red and black checked blanket serve?

(Picnic blanket & to cover the sleeping little girl)

* * * * *

_______ Observe what is on the little boys bed quilt (animals and apples)

_______ What is the little boy thinking?

* * * * *

_______ The final picture shows why the family decorates the tree.

Name the various animals

How did the family share the spirit of Christmas with the woods animals on Christmas day?

How does this sharing care for Gods creation?

* * * * *

Make your own plans to go on a picnic in the woods and decorate a tree for all the wood's creatures...Don't forget the hot chocolate!



Click here for "The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas" by Madeleine L'Engle