A Christmas Star

Overview

A young girl can hardly wait to go to Christmas Eve service in Granddaddy's old sleigh. She knows there will be oranges and candy and, best of all, mittens from the mitten tree. But when they arrive, the family discovers that all the presents have been stolen. She is sure this will be the worst Christmas ever, until a holiday miracle reminds the congregation of the true meaning of Christmas. Full color.

A young girl looks forward to receiving mittens and oranges and ...

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Overview

A young girl can hardly wait to go to Christmas Eve service in Granddaddy's old sleigh. She knows there will be oranges and candy and, best of all, mittens from the mitten tree. But when they arrive, the family discovers that all the presents have been stolen. She is sure this will be the worst Christmas ever, until a holiday miracle reminds the congregation of the true meaning of Christmas. Full color.

A young girl looks forward to receiving mittens and oranges and candy at church on a Christmas Eve during the Depression, and when these special treats are stolen, her spirit sinks.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
High's first picture book returns to the western Pennsylvania hills of her earlier novels. Now it's Depression time in these hills as a small girl and her parents set off in their sleigh to enjoy the very modest Christmas Eve celebrations at their church. But everything seems to have gone wrong. The Christmas tree with its mitten gifts has been stolen! Can Christmas be saved? Since it's a night for miracles, of course it can, but High's simple narration makes the crisis seem very close to home, and the solution comforting. Himler's illustrations are sympathetic with the period and narrative style.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3This story set during the Great Depression is short on originality but long on sentimentality. When the tree adorned with mittens and treats for the children are stolen from the church before the Christmas Eve service, the holiday is almost ruined. The service goes ahead anyway, with the young narrator's parents being cast as Mary and Joseph in the manger scene. The pastor brings in live animals for the pageant, but when the mule refuses to budge, the child gets the idea to use Star, the family's horse, instead. When she and her friend go outside to fetch the animal, they see "a man in a cap and coat and big black boots" (clearly depicted as Santa in the illustration) putting a sack in Star's sleigh. It contains mittens, candy, and fruit. Although the girls believe it is magic, the scene is not effective enough to be convincing. The whole idea is so glibly stated, in fact, that it will take a great leap of faith to accept the resolution. Himler's glowing paintings contrast the warm, golden interiors of the church and stable with the cold blue exteriors of the countryside and aptly reinforce the sense of place. They are the high point of this less-than-stellar effort.
Kirkus Reviews
From High (Hound Heaven, 1995, etc.), a Christmas story set in the Depression features an element of mystery that may leave readers more puzzled than uplifted.

Mama, Papa, and the narrator hitch their horse, Star, to an old-fashioned sleigh to make the Christmas Eve trip to town for church; Star has a pair of antlers tied on for the occasion. The child looks forward to the tree at the church, where gifts of mittens, oranges, and candy await, but when they arrive, they find that someone has stolen it all. The church service proceeds, stoically, but when the manger scene is set up, a mishap with a donkey sends the girl and her best friend, Emma, into the night to get Star. Outside they see "a man in a cap and coat" (portrayed in lackluster watercolors as Santa) heaving a large bag into the sleigh. Whatever readers surmise from the text—that this is either the person who has stolen the gifts and had second thoughts (along the lines of How the Grinch Stole Christmas) or another person entirely returning stolen goods—it's more odd than magical.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823413010
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.07 (w) x 10.08 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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