Perfect Tree -- cover
Interview:Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

Interview: The Bill Newman Show,
WHMP, Northampton,MA

" A cuddly, reassuring holiday tale."--Kirkus
"A lovely picture book."--School Library Journal

The Perfect Tree

Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan

Published by
Cameron Kids/Abrams
October, 2022

ISBN ‎ 978-1951836429

How to Get This Book

French Language Edition


Bunny is looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  She sets off to find one that is just her size, but her forest friends think a perfect tree should also be bushy as Squirrel’s tail, pointy on top for a star, the greenest green, and smell like Christmas.  
Maybe there is no perfect tree, as Deer suggests, or maybe Bunny just hasn’t found it yet.   
This story explores the question of what makes something “perfect” and celebrates the joy of friendship. 


I wrote an early version this story (originally titled The Perfect Christmas Tree) as a Christmas present for my granddaughter Morgan when she was a little girl.  I illustrated it with watercolors and hand-sewed the pages to make a little book.First copy
 I’d started writing stories as gifts for my daughter years before, and it had become a family holiday tradition. Some of these stories later became published picture books, including The Littlest Matryoshka (Little, Brown), which was illustrated by Kathryn Brown, Two Christmas Mice (Holiday House), which was illustrated by Stephanie Roth, and my novel If Ever I Return Again (HarperCollins).


This sweet, delightful story brims with messages of holiday warmth, cooperation, and friendship. Charming, vividly colored illustrations set a lovely holiday tone, with bright green trees highlighting wintry scenes of glistening white. Toward the end, blue-black skies are highlighted by puffs of falling snow, and the endearing animal characters are gaily dressed for winter. A cuddly, reassuring holiday tale. 

--Kirkus Reviews
read full review

Set in a cheerful woodland full of rosy-cheeked animal characters, this story will warm young readers until the last page.  Full of dialogue, the text is delightfully uncomplicated, yet the word choice is rich and inviting. The illustrations are crisp, clean, and adorable in deep jewel-tone colors set against a bright snowy backdrop. The resolution is full of community, collaboration, and good cheer. VERDICT A lovely picture book, just perfect for sharing with readers during the Christmas season.

--School Library Journal

It’s the day before Christmas, and Bunny is searching for the perfect tree, which for her is one just her size. Along the way, Bunny meets up with various friends, who all add a different request, sending Bunny farther and farther from home. Suspense builds as listeners wonder if Bunny will ever find the sought-after tree, while repetition in the text (each friend asks Bunny, “What are you looking for?”) will support new readers. The narrative is poetic and includes elements of alliteration and rhyming. Illustrations in a muted, wintry palette perfectly complement the story.

--The Horn Book Magazine

This is such a sweet story ending in a joyous celebration of community, friendship, and collaboration, with a small hint of environmentalism. The illustrations beautifully reflect the colors and symbols of the season with evergreens, holly, snowberries, red rosehips, and scarf bedecked animals framed by a gentle snow storm. It is a wonderful addition to any Christmas collection.

Blog Review
The Picture Book Buzz

How to order The Perfect Tree:

 Abrams  Barnes & Noble  bookshop  amazon

Or look for it in your favorite bookstore.

Signed copies of The Perfect Tree may be ordered online or by phone at:
High Five Books
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Bookstore
Books of Wonder




photoPenelope Dullaghan is an accomplished, acclaimed artist/illustratorwith a penchant for expressing joy through form and color. She works in children’s publishing, editorial, and advertising, and dabbles extravagantly in any medium she can find — especially printmaking, paint & cut paper. To create the illustrations for The Perfect Tree, she used acrylic paint, cut paper and digital collage. 

Penelope works from her studio in Indianapolis, where she lives with her writer husband and artist-in-training daughter.

Photo by Colin Dullaghan