Just Right for Christmas

Overview

In this celebration of the joy of giving, one snowy Christmas eve, a king buys some soft, red cloth to make the perfect Christmas gift for his daughter. Little does he know that the left-over cloth will be used to make presents for many more of the kingdom’s inhabitants, right down to the last teeny bit of cloth which is made into a scarf just right for a mouse.

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Overview

In this celebration of the joy of giving, one snowy Christmas eve, a king buys some soft, red cloth to make the perfect Christmas gift for his daughter. Little does he know that the left-over cloth will be used to make presents for many more of the kingdom’s inhabitants, right down to the last teeny bit of cloth which is made into a scarf just right for a mouse.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cloth “so red and soft and Christmassy!” is the canvas for many holiday gifts in this warm and satisfying tale, reminiscent of the classic Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree. A king first purchases the luxurious cloth at market so his sewing maids can craft a cloak for his daughter. The leftover scraps are placed outside the back door, where the kitchen maid happens on them and makes a jacket for her mother. The subsequent fabric surpluses are passed along, becoming a hat for a badger, gloves for a squirrel, and a tiny mouse scarf in time for Christmas. Beardshaw’s mixed-media art depicts snowy, friendly scenes of camaraderie and generosity. Ages 3–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
This lovely version uses the folktale motif found in the song, Joseph's Little Overcoat; cloth scraps from one sewing project get repurposed into a series of smaller items. In Black's telling, the story is launched by a human king's purchase of a beautiful piece of red cloth that he has made into a cloak for the princess; a mother uses the leftovers to make a jacket for her daughter. When the mother puts out the scraps there is enough left for a badger to get a hat, a squirrel to get gloves and finally a soft red scarf for Billy mouse. The text does a nice job of varying the strong pattern of the story by recounting the different ways the scraps become available for the next creature looking for something special for a loved one. Beardshaw's full color illustrations do the same as each gift maker is shown at different stages of their gift making and then passing on the scraps. The book nicely makes the case that it is better to give than to receive—a point revisiting all year around, not just in the holidays. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—On Christmas Eve at the marketplace, a king finds a roll of cloth that is "red, soft, and Christmassy" and asks his sewing maids to make a cloak for his daughter. The kitchen maid finds the leftover bits of fabric outside the back door and uses them to make a red jacket for her mother, leaving even smaller scraps for Bertie Badger, Samuel Squirrel, and Milly Mouse to make their own gifts. This is a delightful tale with a nice rhyming cadence, a well-paced and clever buildup, and satisfying ending. The vibrant acrylic illustrations are charming and filled with action, fine for group storytime or bedtime sharing.—Maureen Wade, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A king buys a bolt of bright red cloth on the day before Christmas, setting off a chain of gift-making that spreads throughout his kingdom, from his daughter to a tiny mouse. The royal seamstresses work all morning to make a long cloak for the princess. They leave the fabric remnants at the back door of the castle, where a kitchen maid finds them. She takes the cloth home and sews a jacket for her mother. This pattern is repeated, with a badger making a hat for his father, a squirrel stitching gloves for his wife and a mouse using the last, tiny scrap as a scarf for her little son. Each gift-giver is pleased with his or her offering, and all the recipients are grateful for their warm, red gifts. The final spread shows all the pairs ice skating together, with each recipient wearing their red clothing. Charming illustrations in mixed media include cloth and paper pattern pieces, with lines of stitching and ribbons cleverly dividing pages with multiple spot illustrations. The succinct text has the satisfying feel of a folk tale, and it's the sort of story children will want to hear over and over—and the kind adults won't mind reading many times. Just right. (Picture book. 3-7)
From the Publisher
This is a delightful tale with a nice rhyming cadence, a well-paced and clever buildup, and satisfying ending. The vibrant acrylic illustrations are charming and filled with action, fine for group storytime or bedtime sharing.
—School Library Journal

The endearing mixed-media illustrations, often arranged on the page within a simple sewing pattern, effectively capture the joy of the season. The warm message of the closeness of family pervades both text and pictures, and the final two-page spread brings all the inhabitants together, ice-skating in their brand-new finery—a lovely communal touch.
—Booklist onilne

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763661748
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,042,968
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Birdie Black is Kate Wilson, managing director of Nosy Crow. She has twenty-five years of experience in publishing, most of it in children’s publishing, and has written several books. She was looking for a story that was all about the joy of giving at Christmas, and she couldn’t find one, so she wrote one. She lives in London, England, with her husband and two children.

Rosalind Beardshaw has illustrated several picture books for children. A television star and artist named Rolf Harris visited her school when she was ten years old and inspired her to draw and draw and draw. She’s still drawing today. She lives in York, England with her partner, young son, and baby daughter.

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