Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story

3.8 6
by Cynthia Rylant, Chris K. Soentpiet
     
 

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In Appalachia each Christmas, a boy named Frankie waits beside the tracks for the Christmas Train, which will bring presents to the children who live in coal towns and hollows. Year after year, Frankie hopes that one particular gift a very special gift will be tossed to him from that train. It is this enduring hope that will guide him to the true meaning of the season

Overview

In Appalachia each Christmas, a boy named Frankie waits beside the tracks for the Christmas Train, which will bring presents to the children who live in coal towns and hollows. Year after year, Frankie hopes that one particular gift a very special gift will be tossed to him from that train. It is this enduring hope that will guide him to the true meaning of the season. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Because he was rescued by kind people who refused payment for their good deed, a rich man would come through the Appalachian Mountains each year on the 23rd of December. He would toss silver packages from the train to the waiting children. One boy longed for a doctor kit, but each time he opened his Christmas package, it would contain a toy and scarf, mittens, or socks. They were all needed, but he so longed for a doctor kit. As an adult, he reflects on the rich man's gifts and thinks about his own need for repayment This story of Rylant's first appeared in a 1997 collection entitled Children of Christmas: Stories for the Season. It is a moving account with watercolor illustrations by Soentpiet that capture all of the starkness of winter in Appalachia and the joy that the rich man's presents brought. A perfect story for the Christmas season.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Since 1943, the Santa Train rolls through the Appalachian Mountains with Christmas cheer for the children of the coal towns. This served as inspiration for Cynthia Rylant's latest offering. A rich man, trying to repay a debt to the community, rides the Santa Train, tossing out packages to the children who wait eagerly for their gifts. Young Frankie hopes that the package he receives will be a doctor's kit. Yet, each year he gets practical gifts but never what he wants most. As an adult he realizes what a profound effect those gifts had on him and understands that he, too, must repay a debt. Elegant paintings enhance this story which first appeared in Rylant's Children of Christmas.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4Full-page watercolor paintings decorate this warm, sentimental story loosely based on actual events. Rylant traces the origins of an Appalachian "Christmas Train" that travels through the mountains each year on December 23 to a rich man who wished to repay a debt of kindness he had received many years before. He faithfully returns and tosses silver packages from the caboose to the coal-town children who wait by the tracks. One such child is Frankie, who longs for a doctor's kit every year; instead he gets much-needed socks or mittens along with small toys. As an adult, he moves back to the town to live and work, having fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. With her clear, balanced, and well-paced storyteller's voice, the author builds the anticipation and excitement that the childrenand especially Frankiefeel at the train's annual arrival. Although the heroic profile of this child-turned-man makes him more of a symbol than a real person, his story is capably told. The illustrations provide panoramic views of the Appalachian countryside, with deep nighttime blues and wintry colors, strengthening the sense of place. A well-rendered reflection on the importance of giving and sharing.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780531330517
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.18(w) x 10.72(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


CYNTHIA RYLANT is the acclaimed author of many beloved books for young people, including the Mr. Putter & Tabby series, the novel Missing May, which received the Newbery Medal, and the Little Whistle series. She lives on an island in Puget Sound, Washington. ARTHUR HOWARD is best known as the illustrator of Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby series. He is also the illustrator of Kathi Appelt's Bubba and Beau series and has written and illustrated three picture books of his own: Hoodwinked; When I Was Five, an ABA's Pick of the Lists and a Crayola Kids Best Book; and Cosmo Zooms, an IRA-CBC Children's Choice. He lives in New York City.

As a child in West Virginia, Cynthia Rylant never dreamed of becoming a writer. In her free time, she devoured Archie comic books and paperback romances and enjoyed the outdoors. But after taking one college English class, she was, “hooked on great writing… I didn’t know about this part of me until I went to college-didn’t know I loved beautiful stories.” And one night, inspired by the Southern writer James Agee, she sat down and wrote When I Was Young in the Mountains. Named a Caldecott Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book, it was an instant success.

Since that night, Rylant hasn’t stopped creating wonderful books. Her stories explore friendship, love, grief, and other mysteries, and often draw on her memories of growing up in Appalachia. “I get a lot of personal gratification thinking of those people who don’t get any attention in the world and making them really valuable in my fiction-making them absolutely shine with their beauty.”

She lives with her many pets in the Pacific Northwest.

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Silver Packages 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the nicest seasonal chilren's book I have read. I have read it to several groups and the ending is always a surprise to listeners. It shows compassion and the possibility of reaching goals for all children. I love the simplicity in which it was written and the length of the book holds the listeners attention throughout ...always wanting him to get his dream gift. I have recommended this book to many family and friends.
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cameron-tyler-richards More than 1 year ago
I love the the book silver packages. i read it every year. it is a great kids book and a great book for families that have kids to all read together
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my Granddaughter when I was there a couple weeks ago and she liked it so much we read it 4 times before I left the next day. I cried every time when we reached the end. It is truly a wonderful story for children and adults to make us realize how much we have, how lucky we are and how great it is to give something back for all you've received. A wonderful story based on an actual happening. I loved it and so did my granddaughter!