December

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Overview

Simon and his mom don't have much—the cardboard house they built for themselves, a tiny Christmas tree, and a picture of an angel pinned to one wall. On Christmas Eve they take in a frail stranger who needs a place to keep warm, and the next morning Simon wakes early to find that the woman has vanished. Instead, he sees December, the angel from the picture, with her wings fanned out over their cardboard house. Could she be real?

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Overview

Simon and his mom don't have much—the cardboard house they built for themselves, a tiny Christmas tree, and a picture of an angel pinned to one wall. On Christmas Eve they take in a frail stranger who needs a place to keep warm, and the next morning Simon wakes early to find that the woman has vanished. Instead, he sees December, the angel from the picture, with her wings fanned out over their cardboard house. Could she be real?

A homeless family's luck changes after they help an old woman who has even less than they do at Christmas.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In the midst of the busy-busy holiday flurry, December reminds us to slow down and remember the importance of love and hope. Eve Bunting gives us the powerful story of a homeless boy and his mother whose kindness is rewarded by their calendar angel. Caldecott Medalist David Diaz's monumental figures fill the pages with a rare grace. 2000, Harcourt. Ages All. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
A homeless boy and his mother live in a lean-to of cardboard in the heart of the city. One wall is decorated with the picture of an angel, the December illustration from a discarded calendar. Christmas is coming, and they intend to celebrate with a small Christmas tree decorated with found objects and two cookies purchased with returned soda cans. On Christmas Eve, they are visited by a homeless old woman. They share their home and a cookie with her. On Christmas day, the woman has disappeared, but left behind a spirit that seems to change Simon's and his mother's luck. Bold, batik-like illustrations add to the mystery of this touching story.
Kirkus Reviews
An understated holiday story with dazzling art, by the duo behind Smoky Night (1994) and Going Home (1996).

Simon and his mom live in a cardboard box, but they have a scrap of a Christmas tree, some found decorations including Simon's toy soldier, and an angel on the wall, named December, torn from an old calendar. On Christmas Eve, an old woman begs them to share their box, and they let her in, where Simon offers her one of the two cookies he is saving for Christmas day. In the morning, the old woman is gone, and the angel herself, singing softly, seems to fill the doorway before fading away. The next Christmas Eve finds Simon and his mother in a real apartment. She has found a job, and the December angel is on their new wall. Diaz's acrylic, watercolor, and gouache paintings have the monumentality and intensity of stained glass, with their flat planes of color and black outlines. The agitation of some of his work has been subsumed into a gentler and more emotionally resonant style, set against collage backgrounds full of roses and angels. The angel, with the wings of the feathered cloak of a Mesoamerican goddess, is a glorious creation. Seen in almost every spread in a glowing palette of rose and gold, she draws the eye and the heart again and again.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152024222
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 36
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Eve Bunting and David Diaz are the creators of Smoky Night, which was awarded the Caldecott Medal. They both live in Southern California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 19, 2009

    Do you believe in miracles?

    Bunting and Diaz' December provides readers with the belief that miracles can come to us in various ways. We never know how those miracles come to us and reinforces the lesson that one should do unto others as he would have it done to him. A family's kindness is returned in a most unexpected way. Teachers can use this text as a springboard for many acts of charity and kindness that we would like our students to exhibit on a daily basis. In a time of uncertainty, it is important to realize how close each and every one of us are to being in compromising situations. December should not only be read around the holidays but throughout the school year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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