Christmas Gift For Mama

Christmas Gift For Mama

5.0 2
by Thompson, Laura Thompson, Jim Burke
     
 


A heartwarming holiday story that has special meaning in today's world.

Winter has come early to the city, and by the time Christmas week arrives, Grace and her mother feel as if the cold wind will never stop blowing. Times are hard for everyone this year, but especially so for Grace and her mother, since Grace's father died the spring before. Christmas was

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Overview


A heartwarming holiday story that has special meaning in today's world.

Winter has come early to the city, and by the time Christmas week arrives, Grace and her mother feel as if the cold wind will never stop blowing. Times are hard for everyone this year, but especially so for Grace and her mother, since Grace's father died the spring before. Christmas was always a time of cheer and celebration before Papa died, but this year, in their cold, small apartment, and with Mama working long hours for a seamstress, Christmas has lost its magic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

School Library Journal
(October 1, 2003; 0-590-30725-8)

Gr 3-5-After Papa dies, Mama and Grace become so poor that they can't afford to buy gifts for one another. Secretly, the child trades her beloved porcelain doll (with its tattered dress) for a china figurine of a gentleman-to go with Mama's china lady. Secretly, her mother trades her china lady to a seamstress in exchange for a new dress for the doll. Should this sound familiar, Thompson explains in a note that this story "was inspired by The Gift of the Magi,' by O. Henry, published in 1906-." Told in a lugubrious tone, with a precious design including a pale, refined font against an ivory background on bordered pages, the story is relentlessly melodramatic. Burke's oil-painted illustrations, which are beautifully textured and aptly convey both the story's charged emotions and the Edwardian setting, capture each poignant aspect of the story. Libraries already owning illustrated versions of the original, such as Lisbeth Zwerger's The Gift of the Magi (Picture Book Studio, 1991), may want to pass on this reworking.-S. P. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly
(September 22, 2003; 0-590-30725-8)

Thompson (Mouse's First Christmas) beautifully retools "The Gift of the Magi," recasting O. Henry's husband and wife as a Depression-era widow and daughter. Grace sells her beloved doll in order to buy the mate to her mother's cherished figurine, which is sold to buy a doll's dress for Grace. But in contrast with O. Henry, Thompson places more emphasis on the strong emotional bonds that inspire the ill-fated gift-giving than on the ironies of the exchange. Using oil and colored pencil, Burke (My Brothers' Flying Machine) tinkers with perspective, creating unexpected compositions graced with abundant-and lovely-period details. Designed like an old-fashioned storybook, with full-page paintings punctuating lengthy text, this volume could be an excellent choice for family read-alouds. Ages 6-9. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Booklist
(September 1, 2003; 0-590-30725-8)

Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. In this homage to The Gift of the Magi, Grace trades her doll for a china figurine that complements one her father gave to her mother, while her mother sacrifices her figurine to buy a new dress for Grace's doll. Only last Christmas the family had been wealthy, but Papa's unexpected death left them with debts. With little to look forward to during the holiday season, mother and daughter each decide to sell her most precious item to buy a present the other will cherish. Though Thompson doesn't make clear that Mama has sold her figurine, older kids will catch on. Burke's oil paintings, reminiscent of Floyd Cooper's work, take children back to a 1930s world, where the wealthy lived lavishly while the poor made do. Thick, cream-colored paper; hand-lettered text; and decorative borders with designs like those on Liberty fabrics add to the lovely book's visual appeal. Together the art and text capture the sentiment that love can bring as much happiness as money. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Thompson (Mouse's First Christmas) beautifully retools "The Gift of the Magi," recasting O. Henry's husband and wife as a Depression-era widow and daughter. Grace sells her beloved doll in order to buy the mate to her mother's cherished figurine, which is sold to buy a doll's dress for Grace. But in contrast with O. Henry, Thompson places more emphasis on the strong emotional bonds that inspire the ill-fated gift-giving than on the ironies of the exchange. Using oil and colored pencil, Burke (My Brothers' Flying Machine) tinkers with perspective, creating unexpected compositions graced with abundant-and lovely-period details. Designed like an old-fashioned storybook, with full-page paintings punctuating lengthy text, this volume could be an excellent choice for family read-alouds. Ages 6-9. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Before Papa had died, life was sweet and wonderful. Now, however, Mama had to work at a job that barely covered their expenses. Grace's doll, Penny, given to her by her parents, was a great comfort to her. Her mother cherished china figurines of a dancing lady and gentleman. However, when they moved to a smaller apartment, the china gentleman was broken. This Christmas, Grace tries to find some way to cheer her mother. When she finds a duplicate of the gentleman in the window of an antique shop, she inquires about the price. It is too expensive for her to purchase, but the shop owner is willing to take Penny in exchange for the figurine. Grace's mother has also planned a surprise. She traded the lady figurine for a dress for Penny, the porcelain doll. The author states her story was inspired by O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi and its influence is very strong. The oil paintings place this story in the 1920s or early 1930s. They have a warmth to them that reflects the themes of love and generosity. There is a nice flow to them: a sequence shows Grace's parents dancing, the dancing lady figurine and Grace dancing with the figurine. A very attractive layout and a sentimental, heartwarming story of unselfish love that is a nice reminder for parents and children of what is truly important. 2003, Scholastic, Ages 5 to 9.
— Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-After Papa dies, Mama and Grace become so poor that they can't afford to buy gifts for one another. Secretly, the child trades her beloved porcelain doll (with its tattered dress) for a china figurine of a gentleman-to go with Mama's china lady. Secretly, her mother trades her china lady to a seamstress in exchange for a new dress for the doll. Should this sound familiar, Thompson explains in a note that this story "was inspired by `The Gift of the Magi,' by O. Henry, published in 1906-." Told in a lugubrious tone, with a precious design including a pale, refined font against an ivory background on bordered pages, the story is relentlessly melodramatic. Burke's oil-painted illustrations, which are beautifully textured and aptly convey both the story's charged emotions and the Edwardian setting, capture each poignant aspect of the story. Libraries already owning illustrated versions of the original, such as Lisbeth Zwerger's The Gift of the Magi (Picture Book Studio, 1991), may want to pass on this reworking.-S. P. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Thompson borrows the plot structure of O. Henry's Christmas classic, "The Gift of the Magi," for this sentimental story, set in the 1920s, about a little girl named Grace and her mother. They are living in "reduced circumstances," due to the death of Grace's father, and they've had to sell most of their belongings to pay living expenses. Grace and her mother each sell their most treasured remaining possession to buy the other a Christmas gift as a surprise. Grace trades her only doll for a china figurine of a gentleman to pair up with her mother's treasured figurine of a dancing lady. The mother sells her figurine to buy Grace a new dress for her doll. Both are cheered by the sacrifice of the other, and Christmas morning finds them more accepting of their loss and grateful for their strong mother-daughter bond. Burke illustrates the story with full-page oil paintings in muted tones and shadowy light that illuminate the stark lifestyle of Grace and her mother. Probably best for family reading, since there are pages and pages of text without illustrations. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780590307253
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.42(w) x 11.36(h) x 0.41(d)
Lexile:
570L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


Lauren Thompson is the author of several New York Times bestselling children's books, including the much-beloved Little Quack series and the award-winning picture book POLAR BEAR NIGHT. She is also the author of THE APPLE PIE THAT PAPA BAKED and BALLERINA DREAMS: A TRUE STORY. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Robert, and their son, Owen. You can visit her website at www.laurenthompson.net.

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