In 1916, Frost wrote a poem that he described as a Christmas circular letter. Christmas Trees, illustrated by distinguished artist Ted Rand, encapsulates the wisdom of a Vermont farmer and the beauty of his country.
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Robert Frost (1874–1963) is this country’s best-loved poet. His work epitomizes the American affinity for plain speaking, nature, and the land.
Ted Rand has illustrated many books for children, including Knots on a Counting Rope, Here Are My Hands, and Barn Dance! He and his wife, writer Gloria Rand, live on Mercer Island in Washington State.
In Frost's spare prose poem, written in 1916 as a "Christmas circular letter," a city man offers to buy a farmer's woods of balsam fir to sell back in the city for Christmas trees. While the farmer seems to consider the offer and an anxious extended family watches from the house and porch, the two men walk the hillside estimating how many trees might be cut. The city fellow reckons there are about a thousand trees for which he'll pay $30. The farmer figures that at three cents a tree, he could just about mail one to each of his friends if he could get one in an envelope. The text lacks child appeal, but the poetry and illustrations do blend perfectly to re-create a quieter time in this century. Rand's paintings contrast the city man's rigid purposefulness with the rumpled and relaxed posture of the farmer while displaying the rusty colors of the late fall Vermont countryside to splendid advantage.
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