The Attic Christmas

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When Angel, Mr. Macaroni, Silver Bell, Skier, Special Delivery, Santa, and Camel find themselves stuck in the attic one year, they realize something is wrong. Lily always hangs them on the tree for her grandchildren, but now her house seems empty. The ornaments try to cobble together the things they already possess so they can have their own Christmas. But it's not until they hear footsteps that they know Christmas has finally arrived. It's Jack, Lily's son, coming to find them for his kids and to continue the ...

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Overview

When Angel, Mr. Macaroni, Silver Bell, Skier, Special Delivery, Santa, and Camel find themselves stuck in the attic one year, they realize something is wrong. Lily always hangs them on the tree for her grandchildren, but now her house seems empty. The ornaments try to cobble together the things they already possess so they can have their own Christmas. But it's not until they hear footsteps that they know Christmas has finally arrived. It's Jack, Lily's son, coming to find them for his kids and to continue the tradition his mother put into place so many years before. The popular family tradition of collecting treasured Christmas ornaments is celebrated as never before in a heartwarming story with jewel-like illustrations.

The Christmas tree ornaments are sad when it seems they are not going to be taken out of the attic and hung on the tree one year.

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Editorial Reviews

Constance Decker Thompson
Dan Andreasen's beguiling illustrations evoke times past in The Attic Christmas, while B. G. Hennessy's story is itself timeless. The oil paintings with their rich, subdued palette evoke the mid-20th century and rescue an earnest, rather slight story with their visual impact and nostalgic appeal.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Hennessy's (The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard) nostalgic tale imagines that Christmas ornaments possess holiday memories, too. Each year Silver Bell, Special Delivery, Angel and the other tree trimmers can't wait to smell the gingerbread and evergreen scents that mean they'll soon be taken from Grandma Lily's attic and hung lovingly on her tree. But when the woman doesn't appear one year (readers glean subtle references to her passing), the stunned ornaments must plan their own "Christmas without a family." Happily, Grandma Lily's kin haven't forgotten the tradition, and they interrupt the ornaments' sad attic Christmas for a more joyous one. Andreasen's (With a Little Help from Daddy) elegantly rendered oil paintings feature an evergreen and its special accoutrements in all their holiday beauty. Ages 4-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The Christmas tree ornaments in this story are alive. They love the annual smell of Christmas—the gingerbread and evergreen. The ornaments knew that they would soon be taken from the attic and placed on the Christmas tree. Like many families, these ornaments have a history. Silver Bell was given to the owner of the house on her first Christmas, and later when she was six "she sewed a tiny present on Camel's saddle with her new sewing kit." After learning the history of the ornaments, a year comes when there are no smells and Silver Bell somehow knows that Lily is no longer with them. The ornaments gather to celebrate in their own way, but they really find it hard to believe that there can be a Christmas without Lily. Fortunately, that is not the case and the ornaments are reunited with Lily's son Jack and his family and so they once again became part of a family and join in a real celebration of Christmas. The illustrations have a soft and almost retro look as they depict Lily and her family's early years. The story is both sad and heartening. Sad because Lily is no longer there, but we share the joy of the ornaments as they continue to be a part of the next generation—and thus the spirit of Lily lives on. 2004, Putnam, Ages 4 to 8.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-In the attic, beloved Christmas tree ornaments, some of which Grandma Lily has had since childhood, wonder why the woman doesn't take them down and hang them on the tree, as she always has. When it becomes clear that Lily is gone, the ornaments hold their own celebration in a dollhouse, but it just isn't the same. Luckily, Lily's son arrives with his own children, and the ornaments are part of a family once again. The oil paintings, which depict each ornament in careful and loving detail, are the strength and heart of this book. Despite some flaws (Jack seems to grow from a little boy to a man with kids of his own in just one year, and the tenses switch from past to present and back again), the simple story has quiet, old-fashioned charm.-E. M. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Anthropomorphic Christmas tree ornaments take center stage in this rather sentimental story about the first Christmas after a grandparent's death. The six ornaments (a bell, a truck, a camel, a Santa, a skier, a star, and an angel) are part of the holiday traditions at Grandma Lily's house, with the history of each ornament explained in detail. In this Christmas season, they are left in their box in the attic, because Grandma Lily has died (presumably), a fact handled somewhat awkwardly in the text. The ornaments reminisce sadly about past holidays in better times and then climb into an old dollhouse and prepare to celebrate Christmas "without a family," though they seem to be an effective little family group all on their own. Grandma Lily's grown son and his wife and children arrive on Christmas Day, retrieving the ornaments and making them happy by putting them on their Christmas tree. Andreasen's illustrations of the individual ornaments have their own nostalgic charm as they light up their little corner of the otherwise dark and empty attic. Some readers will appreciate the idea of the continuing circle of family; others will find this a somber story for an ordinarily more cheerful time. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399234972
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/16/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Road Builders and The First Night, as well as many books starring Corduroy, the loveable toy bear created by Don Freeman. She now lives with her family in Arizona.

B.G. Hennessy grew up in Wantagh on Long Island, NY. At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, she majored in fine art and learned how to design, print and bind handmade books. She also took courses in Children’s Literature. The combination of form and content in the picture book format fascinated her and after graduation she headed for NYC where she worked for 17 years in children’s book publishing as a designer and art director. She is the author of Road Builders and The First Night, as well as many books starring Corduroy, the loveable toy bear created by Don Freeman. She now lives with her family in Arizona.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    The illustrations are warm, rich and evocative of a time not so long ago. For adults the story line is sentimental & predictable its value is in presenting to children that while loss of a loved one may be sad there is comfort and joy in keeping traditions and fond memories of those not with us any longer.

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