Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift

( 2 )

Overview

Boris is a musician, playing the songs he learned growing up in Russia. Stella is a baker, baking cakes and pastries like her father used to back in Italy. Boris and Stella live in the city and are best friends. They like movies, hats, and each other. At holiday time, Stella wants to give Boris the perfect present for Hanukkah. She wants him to know how special he is. Boris wants to give Stella the perfect present for Christmas—she means so much to him. But perfect presents cost money and their savings banks ...
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Overview

Boris is a musician, playing the songs he learned growing up in Russia. Stella is a baker, baking cakes and pastries like her father used to back in Italy. Boris and Stella live in the city and are best friends. They like movies, hats, and each other. At holiday time, Stella wants to give Boris the perfect present for Hanukkah. She wants him to know how special he is. Boris wants to give Stella the perfect present for Christmas—she means so much to him. But perfect presents cost money and their savings banks contain very little. To make their dreams of perfect presents come true, Boris and Stella each sacrifice something very special. In a nod to O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi comes this tender story celebrating traditions, friendships, and gifts from the heart.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/16/2013
In this retelling of the holiday classic The Gift of the Magi, Boris, a pianist, wants to give his friend Stella a gift for Christmas; Stella is a baker who wants to wants to give Boris a Hanukkah gift. Both sell something valuable in order to afford a gift for the other, and discover what is most valuable in the process. Goldman’s ursine Boris and Stella look warm and fuzzy, and the blues in her palette visually tie together Hanukkah and the night skies of Christmas. Books that speak to both Jewish and Christian holiday traditions are rare, and this sweet tale of friendship and generosity is an ideal gift for children of interfaith families. Ages 6–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Boris and Stella are best of friends who live just a few houses apart in a small city in Russia. Boris loves to share the music that he learned as a child growing up in Russia and so he plays piano in a small restaurant near his home. Stella is a baker who bakes cakes in the shop next to Boris' restaurant. Stella loves music and Boris loves to eat cake. They are a perfect match. Together, they love scary movies and dressing up in fancy hats. Stella's family celebrates Christmas and Boris' family celebrates Hanukkah. When Stella decides that she wants Boris to know how much she cares for him, she decides to buy him something extra special for Hanukkah. With little money and even fewer possessions, Stella decides to sell her pine tree that was a gift to her from her Italian family and that she has had since it was a little seedling. Boris is so glad to have Stella in his life and wants to show her that by giving her a special Christmas gift. The only thing of material value is his dreidel collection and so he determines to sell his collection and buy Stella something for her pine tree. In a very familiar nod to O'Henry's "Gift of the Magi," both Stella and Boris discover how lucky and blessed they are to have each other as friends. The simple, colorful drawings of the two bears and their neighborhood draw the reader into the story. The attention to detail in the building windows adds a teachable moment to shared readings. This will be a treasured gift for many years in any family. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
K-Gr 3—Goldman makes O'Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" accessible to younger readers and successfully keeps the tenderness and warmth of the original short story. An Italian bear named Stella celebrates Christmas; her bear friend, Boris, from Russia, celebrates Hanukkah. Stella sells her most precious possession, a pine tree from her family farm, to buy Boris a dreidel. Meanwhile, Boris sells his childhood dreidel collection and buys a star ornament for Stella's tree. When the holiday arrives and presents are exchanged, they realize what they have done, but their love for each other helps them feel better about their decisions. The juxtaposition of the two different religions and nationalities reflects our diverse world and offers a message of acceptance. The lush watercolor illustrations depicting the holidays in a quaint town carry the same emotions of love and devotion as her text. Even the font, resembling handwriting, lends a cozy, personal touch. Perfect for one-on-one or small group read-alouds.—Maureen Wade, formerly at Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
A pair of big-city bears celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas Eve in their shared apartment in this sweet, age-appropriate story that borrows the structure of O. Henry's classic Christmas story, "The Gift of the Magi." Boris is a musician who grew up in Russia; he celebrates Hanukkah. Stella is a baker whose family came from Italy; she celebrates Christmas. Each wants to buy a special present for the other for the holiday, but both bears have just a few coins in their individual banks. Stella sells her small but beloved Christmas tree, growing outside in a pot on their balcony, and uses the proceeds to buy a new dreidel from Israel for Boris. At the same time, Boris sells his dreidel collection to buy a sparkling glass star for the top of Stella's tree. Inviting illustrations are filled with the details of the bears' cozy apartment and their joint celebration of the eighth night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, complete with potato latkes and Italian panettone cake. A neat, touching conclusion shows the bears celebrating and making plans for starting a new collection of dreidels, as well as growing a new Christmas tree with seeds from a pine cone from the original tree. An inclusive, accessible interpretation of O. Henry's beloved story and a "perfect gift" for families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585368594
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2013
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 672,827
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Highly recommended!

    This is a delightful book both in terms of the message and the wonderful illustrations. I highly recommend it for the children or grandchildren in your life. It would make a wonderful gift.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Boris and Stella are the BEST of friends! They both like hats, s

    Boris and Stella are the BEST of friends! They both like hats, scary movies, and enjoy each other’s company. Stella loves to listen as Boris plays his music, and Boris LOVES the cakes that Stella makes in her bakery. While Boris grew up in Russia and Stella’s family came from Italy, that fact only helps make their relationship more interesting. They are best friends forever.




    As the holidays approach, Stella knows that she wants to give Boris a special present for Hanukkah. Checking her piggy bank, she is saddened to discover that she only has a few coins. How can she buy a special present with so little money? All she has is her pine tree that came from Italy to remind her of her family. At the same time, Boris is trying to figure out what to get Stella for Christmas. He, too, wants to find the absolutely perfect gift for his best friend. Alas, his little savings bank is just as empty as Stella’s. Whatever will he do? All he has is his collection of beautiful dreidels.




    Reminiscent of O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi (one of my favorite short stories), Boris and Stella show what true love is as they decide to part with items dear to their hearts in order to bring joy to another. The author/illustrator, Dara Goldman, has done an outstanding job of retelling a famous story so that children can grasp the true meaning. Her illustrations perfectly compliment the story, with their bright colors and expressive characters. I love everything about this book and belive it is the PERFECT present for the holiday season.




    Quill says: The perfect gift for a family that celebrates Christmas and Hanukkah, as well as anybody who enjoys the holidays. Peace, love and hugs, what can be better than that?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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