Far down in the forest, where the warm sun and the fresh air made a sweet resting-place, grew a pretty little fir-tree; and yet it was not happy, it wished so much to be tall like its companions—the pines and firs which grew around it. The sun shone, and the soft air fluttered its leaves, and the little peasant children passed by, prattling merrily, but the fir-tree heeded them not. Sometimes the children would bring a large basket of raspberries or strawberries, wreathed on a straw, and seat themselves near the fir-tree, and say, "Is it not a pretty little tree?" which made it feel more unhappy than before.
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Virginia Andersen (Coronado, CA) is a freelance author and writer who has written or contributed to nearly 25 books about PC-based applications, including many student tutorials and accompanying instructor manuals with exercise disks. Virginia is certified as a Microsoft Access MOUS Expert. She has over 25 years experience in computer science applications, analysis, and engineering - including extensive technical writing and editing. Her government and defense projects include lunar mapping, reliability engineering, undersea surveillance, weapon system interface simulation, and naval communications. Her civilian projects include computerized project management and horse race handicapping. She holds a M.S. in Systems Management, University of Southern California, an M.S. in Computer Science, University of Southern California and a B.S. Mathematics, Stanford University.
Bernadette Watts has loved to draw since her childhood in England. She created her first picture book under the influence of Beatrix Potter. Watts studied at the Maidstone Art School in Kent and is the illustrator of North South fairy tales The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling.
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born in Odense, Denmark to a poor family. He left home as a 14-year-old to seek his fortune at the theatre in Copenhagen. Andersen began writing plays and poetry before he left for Copenhagen, but it was not until 1835 that he published the first of the fairytales that would bring him international renown. Since then, his over 200 fairytales have enjoyed undiminished popularity, providing the basis for favorite American interpretations such as Disney's The Little Mermaid.
Paul Kennedy narrates Andersen's dour fable in an avuncular manner that, despite his real expressiveness, will be hard for adults to take, but the story is too complex and bleak for an audience as young as his manner calls for. He reads with a Canadian accent. The brief story is broken up frequently by the Canadian Brass performing excerpts of Christmas music; the arrangements are often interesting but not necessarily kid-friendly or upbeat, especially the discordant and decidedly minor "What Child Is This?". When the story's ending--bitter, sad, regretful, resigned--is followed by "O, Christmas Tree," it seems ironically cruel. Unfortunately, this program is misconceived for adults and children alike. W.M. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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