And Then Comes Christmas

Overview

A lyrical invitation to watch for signs of the approaching season — and revel in the homespun rituals that warm a family celebration.

From icicles clinging to roofs and houses strung with colorful lights to visiting Santa and hunting for the perfect tree, this classic-in-the-making celebrates all of the holiday’s excitement. Evoking both winter’s changes to the world outside and well-loved traditions taking place within, here is a story to encourage readers to curl up with their...

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Overview

A lyrical invitation to watch for signs of the approaching season — and revel in the homespun rituals that warm a family celebration.

From icicles clinging to roofs and houses strung with colorful lights to visiting Santa and hunting for the perfect tree, this classic-in-the-making celebrates all of the holiday’s excitement. Evoking both winter’s changes to the world outside and well-loved traditions taking place within, here is a story to encourage readers to curl up with their loved ones and bask in the magic of the Christmas season.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/15/2014
Returning to the sequential narrative style of And Then Comes Halloween, Brenner alternates between sentences beginning with “When” and those starting with “Then,” lyrically evoking a shift in seasons: “When the days barely start and they’re over again, and red berries blaze against green shrubs, and bare branches rake across the sky... Then hang boughs of fir or spruce or pine, dotted with cones and bits of holly, welcoming winter.” The text describes holiday traditions generally, while Christy’s (A Year with Friends) digital art—suggestive of watercolors scribbled over with crayon and pencil—personalizes the story, showing two siblings visiting a department store Santa, selecting and decorating a Christmas tree with their parents, and making and wrapping homemade presents. The contrast between the cool palette of snowy outdoor scenes and cozy interior settings is as pleasing as this family’s palpable affection. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
The text is filled with rich vocabulary and sensory details, evocatively describing the sights, sounds and smells of the season. The joyous illustrations ... create a misty, dreamy atmosphere with blurred edges, glowing illumination and an overall impressionistic tone that will appeal to both children and adults. ... WHEN families find an endearing Christmas story (such as this one), THEN they will enjoy reading it over and over.
—Kirkus Reviews

As with his previous work, Brenner frames the story through a repeated pattern of "When…" and "Then…" statements full of poetic, Norman Rockwell-like descriptions of the weather, activities, and delicious moments. He lets the anticipation build and then delivers with a satisfying page turn. The text is matched with Christy’s cheery, hazy illustrations, focusing on the family’s curly haired girl and her towheaded little brother. Fans of the previous book, and those libraries with high demand for Christmas fare, won’t be disappointed.
—School Library Journal

Returning to the sequential narrative style of "And Then Comes Halloween," Brenner alternates between sentences beginning with "When" and those starting with "Then," lyrically evoking a shift in seasons... The text describes holiday traditions generally, while Christy’s digital art—suggestive of watercolors scribbled over with crayon and pencil—personalizes the story, showing two siblings visiting a department store Santa, selecting and decorating a Christmas tree with their parents, and making and wrapping homemade presents. The contrast between the cool palette of snowy outdoor scenes and cozy interior settings is as pleasing as this family’s palpable affection.
—Publishers Weekly

An inviting story... Soft-focus digital illustrations in vibrant hues reflect the season’s coziness and industry. Those looking for an accessible book about secular celebration of Christmas will enjoy this warm-hearted offering.
—Horn Book

The lyrical journey through the pleasures of holiday anticipation is a rewarding one, with gratifyingly savory descriptions of winter rituals. Christy’s digital art has a soft-edged, painterly look; the gently textured candy-colored clothing and holiday décor stand out pleasingly against the subdued background tones of interiors and wintry landscapes, and the attractive family and their little black dog are welcoming figures. This would make a cozy readaloud selection, perfect for a pre-Christmas story hour for school-age kids or for a snuggle session at home on a snowy day.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Author Tom Brenner tapsinto a child's eagerness for Christmastime to arrive while Jana Christy's dreamy, radiant artwork adds just the right amount of warmth.
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Capturing the only-in-December sense of excitement that accompanies the holidays... This prelude to Christmas is an especially festive affair thanks to Jana Christy’s textured digital illustrations. In her hands, the rituals of December—baking cookies, trimming the tree, sitting on Santa’s lap—have a special candlelit magic. Brenner’s poetic prose distills the essence of the season.
—BookPage

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
The onset of winter is evident in both text and illustrations. A girl walks up the lane to her home, with her mother on the doorstep, as the school bus continues on its way. Bare branches of trees appear against the background of a cloudy sky. Green bushes with red berries brighten the landscape. The girl, her brother, and their parents begin to prepare for Christmas. They hang a wreath on the door, fill the windows with paper snowflakes, and adorn the house with colored lights. When the snow starts to fall, the children wrap in warm clothes and romp around in it. The family visits Santa at the mall before choosing the perfect tree to decorate. They wrap presents and hang stockings in anticipation of the great day. Santa comes; wrapping paper covers the floor; and they bask in the magic of Christmas as they share a special breakfast. The “when-then” format provides a poetic feeling while the full-page, softly colored pictures add a sense of comfort. A good choice to share with young children as they enjoy the holiday season. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.; Ages 4 to 7.
School Library Journal
10/01/2014
K-Gr 2—Brenner follows And Then Comes Halloween (Candlewick, 2009) with this countdown to Christmas. Starting with the last gasps of fall, "When frost glistens on the pastures and fence posts, and icy grass crunches underfoot, and dark clouds sit low on the horizon…," a rural family prepares for the holidays with all the traditional trappings, from sledding, hanging wreaths, and performing in the school pageant, to the after-presents breakfast. As with his previous work, Brenner frames the story through a repeated pattern of "When…" and "Then…" statements full of poetic, Norman Rockwell-like descriptions of the weather, activities, and delicious moments. He lets the anticipation build and then delivers with a satisfying page turn. The text is matched with Christy's cheery, hazy illustrations, focusing on the family's curly haired girl and her towheaded little brother. Fans of the previous book, and those libraries with high demand for Christmas fare, won't be disappointed.—Brooke Sheets, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2014-08-12
A Caucasian family with two young children prepares for Christmas in this captivating look at the anticipation and activities during the countdown to the holiday. The second entry in a series, following And Then Comes Halloween (2009), this story follows the same textual structure, using a "when" / "then" format. Each new stage of holiday preparation begins with a sentence setting up the new scene. For example, "WHEN elves and reindeer appear in stores, and small trains race through toy villages, and piles of presents nestle in cotton drifts…." A corresponding action is then taken by the children in the family; in this case, they "THEN hop from foot to foot, waiting to sit on Santa's knee." The text is filled with rich vocabulary and sensory details, evocatively describing the sights, sounds and smells of the season. The joyous illustrations in jewel-bright tones appear to be watercolors, but they are actually digitally produced. They create a misty, dreamy atmosphere with blurred edges, glowing illumination and an overall impressionistic tone that will appeal to both children and adults. The final page shows the contented, loving family having a cozy Christmas morning breakfast together as they "bask in the magic of Christmas." WHEN families find an endearing Christmas story (such as this one), THEN they will enjoy reading it over and over. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763653422
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 205,516
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Brenner is the author of the picture book And Then Comes Halloween, illustrated by Holly Meade. He lives on Vashon Island in Washington State, where in mid-December the island’s residents gather to light a giant fir tree, sing, and welcome Santa.

Jana Christy is the illustrator of numerous books for children and young readers, including the New York Times best-selling Never Girls series, written by Kiki Thorpe. Jana Christy lives in Western Massachusetts.

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