Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree ELA Unit

MrWillowbysChristmasTree_ELA_Unit_Classroom_InspirationsThe story starts when Mr. Willowby orders a tree for his mansion, but it is too big. He has his butler (I love that he is named Baxter), chop the top off. He gives it to the upstairs maid, who in turn, chops the top off. This pattern continues with the woodland creatures until the tree is just a stub. It is the perfect size for the tiny mice living in Mr. Willowby’s wall. I don’t know what it is about Christmas mice, but I love to imagine the little furry friends with all their tiny decorations celebrating Christmas. The pictures in the book are charming green and black drawings (hardback book version is full color) that remind me of beloved Christmas songs and memories of Christmases past.

My media specialist introduced this book to me several years back and it quickly become one of my favorite Christmas books. I feel sad that I did not find it early enough to share it with my own boys. Of course they are too big for such books now.


This book lends itself so beautifully to rhyming and sequencing activities! First, students will identify rhyming words. Then, through a really cool folding and cutting activity, students will create a Christmas tree to sequence the events. There are also two sequencing sheets included. One sheet has pictures and the other has just the words. You can choose which one is best to use with your kids. Next, have students summarize the story with the graphic organizer. The cool part is that parts of each of the lessons can be combined to make a final project.


Did you know there is a Muppet’s movie about Mr. Willowby? Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is a 1995 half-hour Hallmark TV special starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Mr. Willowby, Leslie Nielsen as his butler Baxter, and Kermit the Frog as narrator. I love Kermit and anything Muppet! It is difficult to find the movie, but at the time of this posting, it can be viewed at YouTube: I have included two ornament shaped Venn diagrams. One can be used to compare the book and the movie. The other one can be used to compare two Christmas tree themed books.


It’s Christmas time! Go ahead and have some fun and create a Christmas tree shaped ornament with your kids! I have included the directions and craft outlines to make this sweet little Christmas tree for gift giving.

Included in this ELA Unit are the following items:

• Lesson instructions
• Rhyming activity sheet
• Directions for tree sequencing activity
• Sequencing sheet
• Summary graphic organizer & final summary sheet
• Two ornament shaped Venn diagrams (labeled and unlabeled)
• Christmas tree ornament directions and craft outlines