Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Who Hoo?

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

People have swayed back and forth for years between using real and artificial trees for Christmas. I remember a time when artificial trees became all the rage. One of the favorites seemed to be the white one. It came with a rotating light that shined on it from below with alternating colors of red, green, yellow and blue. It was mesmerizing. An artificial tree can be cost effective, lasting through many years of Christmas enjoyment. Today people seem to lean toward the ones that are green and look real and can fool even the staunchest tree lover from a few feet away.

In recent years, Christmas tree farms have grown in large numbers across the country, meant to provide live and cut trees for large communities. In the process of farming, they contribute to better air quality and offer themselves to nature itself. Do you realize how many animals, birds, insects and organisms a tree gives home to in its lifespan? And even after Christmas, whether disposed of in a recycling process, the local dump, or even in the back corner of your yard, it continues to re-home life and mulch into the earth.

The artificial tree may be cost effective in short term use, but it is also produced using materials that neither mulch safely or deteriorate for many years. And while it may house a family of spiders and such during its off-duty time, a real tree has to win for its diversity of usefulness. The tree decision is weighed between individual needs, availability and personal choice.

My review this week includes a handful of books all written about the same real life story about a tree. Imagine being a Saw-whet owl (smallest owl species in the Northeast), minding your own business living in a beautiful towering Norway Spruce, when all of a sudden your peaceful home is shuddering from the buzzing of a saw gnawing on its trunk. The falling of such a large tree must be momentous when it hits the ground. Then all the activity as the branches are secured within a netting and the tree itself is lifted onto a big rumbling truck.

There was a ride from a forest in upstate New York to Rockefeller Plaza in New York City for this particular tree. The tree was set upright again and stabilized, the netting cut away. For this tree, it was three days until a little owl was spotted within the branches by a worker, the owl having had no food or water during that time. And all that chaos. The owl named Rockefeller (Rocky for short), was carefully removed from within the branches and wrapped in a bright orange blanket. Rocky was rehabilitated at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York and eventually released back into its natural habitat. But, oh boy! What an adventure!

This story hit the news of course and traveled around the world. Later, a series of books were written and illustrated by various authors, some more precise, others taking creative liberties with the story, all with the intention to entice the imaginations of both young and old.

The following is a sampling of some of the books available:

“The Little Owl and the Big Tree” by Jonah and Jeanette Winter.

“Rocky’s Christmas Journey” by Kimberly V. Dwyer.

“The Christmas Owl” by Ellen Kalish and Gideon Sterer.

“Rocky the Christmas Owl” by Bobbie Gilbert Kogola.

”Rockefeller the Christmas Owl” by T. Troy Kolo.

“Tiny Owl and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree” by Deborah, Gianna and Lea Rocco.

“A Little Owl on a Big Adventure” by Carol Ann Finklestein.

There is more than one way to tell a story as you can see. Some people prefer facts, others whimsy. A story about a tiny owl traveling in a big tree to a Christmas location has charm any way it is told. Christmas is a time of good cheer and imagination, and be assured that each book has a happy ending. Perfect as we prepare for Christmas. Perfect for warming the heart.

Good books.

Good reading.

*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.