Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 28, 2022

Book Giveaway: HELLO, TREE by Alastair Heim

Alastair Heim’s debut picture book, HELLO, TREE, illustrated by Alisa Coburn and published by Little Bee Books is available in bookstores. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Alistair and Alisa.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


A thieving, Christmas-loving fox causes holiday madness all around town…until Santa catches him!

Hello, tree.

Hello, twine.

Hello, wreath.

Hello, sign.

Roguish Fox makes Christmas mischief all over town! He takes a tree, a wreath, the carrot from a snowman’s nose, Christmas decorations, tons of toys, and tasty treats. Then he settles back at home for a cozy Christmas Eve with all the wonderful items he’s “collected.” He gets so cozy, in fact, that he falls asleep and almost forgets to prepare for Santa! But as the clock strikes midnight, Santa arrives and scolds naughty Fox, making him put back all the things he stole. On Christmas Day, Fox wakes up groggy, sad, and alone, until he hears the ding-dong of his doorbell. It’s Fox’s friends from town delivering a snowball right to his face…and also a Christmas tree! The final scene is a warm and bright Christmas party in Fox’s home with everyone from town.


As I mentioned on this very blog back in 2018 (thank you, Kathy!), I happened to be staring out of a window in 2012 trying to think up good titles for children’s picture books.  At that time, I had signed with my literary agent in 2011 – the wonderful Kelly Sonnack of The Andrea Brown Literary Agency – but hadn’t yet landed my first publishing deal. My creative process, at that time, was to try to come up with at least three new book titles per day and add them to my idea journal. On the day I reference above, the words HELLO DOOR popped into my brain, so I wrote them down in said ournal and thought nothing of it for quite some time.

Fast forward a few years to the summer of 2016, I was writing some new ideas in my journal and decided to flip back through its pages to refresh my memory on past titles I had come up with.  This time, when I saw HELLO DOOR on the page I was instantly struck by a question, “Why would someone say ‘hello’ to a door?” Then, a fox suddenly popped into my brain, as did an answer to the question: “He’s saying ‘hello’ to everything he sees and steals at a house that’s not his.”

Little Bee Books was lovely enough to publish HELLO, DOOR in January of 2018.  The story of this sneaky-yet-loveable fox was beautifully brought to life by the incredible Alisa Coburn, who had also illustrated my first book called LOVE YOU, TOO.  Our newest book would go on to be named one of the Best Books of 2018 by The New York Public Library and several foreign editions (French, Dutch, and Chinese) were published shortly thereafter.  Even before the book started to receive attention and accolades, I started to think about where “Foxy,” as Alisa calls him, could go next.  What new adventures could be in store for this roguishly endearing thief?

As it turned out, the holiday season was upon us at that time and, as I was brainstorming new adventures for Foxy, I envisioned him in a Santa hat and the story for HELLO, TREE instantly popped into my brain.  I opened a new Microsoft Word document and literally typed out the first draft of his follow-up in two hours that Saturday morning, then let it sit for a couple of weeks – before revising it a few more times and sending it to my agent.

When Kelly first sent the manuscript to Little Bee Books in 2017, they weren’t quite ready to commit to a sequel. Fast-forward, again, to 2019 and the reception to the story was strong and they loved that, whereas Mrs. Bear stops his thievery in the first book, it would be Santa Claus that would hold Foxy accountable for his holiday stealing and shenanigans.  I was especially excited about Foxy traveling all throughout the town he lives in, and the new animal characters Alisa was going to get to bring to life.  In fact, the way she made the town look really makes me wish I could spend the holidays there if it were at all possible.

I wrapped up final edits with the editor at Little Bee Books in February of 2021 and waited patiently for illustration samples to come in from Alisa, which they did in September of that year.  I was absolutely blown away with the creativity, charm, and love she put into this story, and it absolutely looks and feels like a classic, timeless Christmas book.

There are even a few not-so-subtle nods to HELLO, DOOR spread throughout the narrative, as well as lots of fun things to discover on each page and all throughout the book.  Alisa also added some cleverness to the book’s endpapers, as she did with the first title. One fun, interesting story detail to note is that the three rabbits introduced early in the book weren’t in my manuscript when I wrote it. That idea was all Alisa Coburn and their side story really serves as the glue that helps hold the narrative together and wraps the entire thing up in a beautifully bunny-ish bow at the end. As is the case with every book I write, the illustrator creates half of the story and Alisa is masterful at adding charm, humor, and substance that truly takes my books to the next level.

Since the HELLO, TREE debuted in September of 2022, I have received incredibly positive feedback from readers, teachers, and parents about Foxy’s holiday adventure.  Alisa and I couldn’t be prouder of this book, and we are forever grateful to Little Bee Books for publishing it AND both send our heartfelt thanks to all future readers who pick up a copy at their local libraries and bookstores.


Alastair Heim writes children’s picture books. He lives in Kansas City with my awesomely, awesome family who inspires me everyday. Laughter is his favorite sound, purple is his favorite color, and other-people-cooking-for-him is his favorite food.  He is a huge fan of music and has been known to play the guitar with impeccable mediocrity.

Alastair started writing picture books because of his kids – plain and simple. After experiencing the joy, laughter and wondrous awe picture books brought them (and still continues), he thought there would be nothing cooler than to see that same reaction come from one of Daddy’s stories.  And he says, “Boy, was I right.” He is grateful, everyday, for getting to write these books and hopes that, at the very least, one of his puts a smile on a kid’s face, too.


Alisa Coburn is an Illustrator/Designer specialising in the children’s market – illustrating picture books, middle grade books, online content, magazines and products for kids. I live and work in the beautiful Kent countryside, UK.

Originally trained as an Animation Assistant, Graphic Designer and Advertising Creative I’ve worked in a variety of creative roles in the animation, advertising and broadcast industries. I’ve absorbed countless skills along the way – from concept development through to design in every detail across a variety of media – all of which I am incredibly grateful for as they continue to inform every project.

Drawing is my first love, I love creating interesting characters and finding fresh ways to weave narrative with design. I’m hopelessly addicted to children’s books, animation, and the smell of coloured pencil shavings.

Selected Clients include:
FCG (Macmillan), Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), Ivy Kids, Bloomsbury, Simon & Schuster, Didier Jeunesse, Storytime Magazine, Little Bee Books (Bonnier), Hardie Grant Egmont, Chirpy Bird (HGE), Amazon Education, Cengage Learning …

Alistair, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. What a great book to give to a child for Christmas. I love sneaky Foxie. How he  all around town and we see the cute village as we follow him around town causing mischief. Looks like he is going to be on Santa’s naughty list, but Santa sets him straight and there is a happy ending for our sly fox. This book with it’s wonderful illustration done by Alisa Coburn is destin to be a Christmas classic. Looks like a great Christmas gift. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This sounds like a story kids will love. The illustrations are so cute. I subscribe by email to your blog. Thanks for the post.


  2. What a lovely story and so timely. Thank you for sharing. Congrats!!


  3. Love this – so fun! Best of luck to you and happy holidays [Newsletter Subscriber]


  4. Oh, that is fun! Love it! Congrats, Alastair and Alisa!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post. 🙂


  5. This book looks phenomenal! Congrats to you both!


  6. Congratulations, Alastair and Alisa! This book looks/sounds fabulous. I can’t wait to read it. I shared on Twitter and received your blog daily, Kathy. Thanks!


  7. This book immediately reminded me of a take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, my favorite Christmas animated move and book. I’m excited to find out how the story ends. Congratulations on a sequel! I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and tumblr.


  8. We would definitely love reading this Christmassy book!


  9. Oh, how I love foxes. 🙂


  10. Okay, now I want to live in that Christmas town, too! Thanks for the background on creative process. I’ll start writing down titles…


  11. I enjoyed reading about Alastair and Alsia’s book HELLO, TREE.

    This post was shared on Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and my WordPress account. I subscribe to your newsletter.

    Suzy Leopold


  12. […] […]


  13. This looks positively adorable and so fun! Retweeted and subscribed


  14. Alastair’s books are just plain fun. I love his kids-first focus. (Kathy, (I subscribe to your blog.)


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