The Christmas Cobwebs

The Christmas Cobwebs

4.0 1
by Odds Bodkin, Terry Widener
     
 

A poor shoemaker and his family move from Germany to Chicago with only a box of glittering glass ornaments. But when a tragic fire destroys their new house and shop, the family has to move into an abandoned shack, with cobwebs dangling from the rafters. Soon the shoemaker must sell his family's cherished decorations. But on Christmas morning, they all awaken to a

Overview


A poor shoemaker and his family move from Germany to Chicago with only a box of glittering glass ornaments. But when a tragic fire destroys their new house and shop, the family has to move into an abandoned shack, with cobwebs dangling from the rafters. Soon the shoemaker must sell his family's cherished decorations. But on Christmas morning, they all awaken to a shimmering surprise hanging from their tree.
Spun by the Christmas spirit, a wonderful magic weaves throughout this holiday tale.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even arachnids get in the holiday spirit in Bodkin's (The Crane Wife) warm tale of a kindness repaid. All seems hopeless after a humble cobbler loses his workshop and home to fire just before the holiday and must sell his cherished heirloom Christmas ornaments. But when the cobbler and his family take shelter in a nearby shack and are careful not to disturb the cobwebs ("spiders' homes"), the grateful spiders spin lacy "ornaments" for all to enjoy. Widener (The Babe and I) trains his contemporary style on the old-fashioned proceedings with sturdy, flattened compositions. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This story is perfect for a holiday season when many families will be struggling with their own loss or touched by the losses of others. A humble cobbler who emigrated to America from Germany shares with his children a box of precious Christmas ornaments, "the one thing we brought with us to remind us of our old home." But one night, the family's home is destroyed by fire. The family escapes with the treasured Box but has to make a temporary home in an abandoned farmer's shack. The mother is about to dust away the cobwebs when the cobbler stops her, "Please don't take their homes....the little spiders who live up there. We lost everything. Those webs are their homes. Let them stay." The cobbler has to sell the precious family ornaments to buy new work tools, so the Christmas tree looks very bare¾until the little spiders whose homes had been saved cover the tree with ornaments spun of silvery threads. It is a Christmas story with a universal message, a reminder that home can be anywhere a family is gathered together and simple joys can be treasures. The illustrations, with all the soft round faces and delicate spidery ornaments, are warm and comforting. This is an excellent read-aloud selection, with pictures easily seen and appreciated even in a larger group. 2001, Gulliver Books, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-When a fire destroys a cobbler's house, he is able to save his family and a box of Christmas ornaments that came from their German homeland. He moves his wife and children to an old shack and must sell the keepsakes in order to replace his tools. On Christmas Eve, while the family sleeps, spiders come down from the rafters and fashion delicate cobweb ornaments for their bare Christmas tree. Although the messages (home is where the heart is, and don't forget to be nice to spiders) are fine ones, the story never really comes alive, a flaw that isn't alleviated by the glowing but rather flat acrylic illustrations. Pleasant but not a first purchase.-E. M. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Uninspired illustrations mar this rendition of a German miracle tale. When a cobbler and his family are burned out of their Chicago shop, they find shelter in an abandoned house, but to make a new start they must sell a rescued box of blown-glass tree ornaments that has been in the family for generations. When they wake on Christmas morning, though, they find their bare tree decorated with webs cast by the spiders living in the rafters. Widener (Peg and the Whale, 2000, etc.) hasn't put much thought into this: the "old abandoned farmer's shack" comes tidy, weatherproof, and fully furnished; the human characters bear exaggerated, open-mouthed smiles; and the tree's new ornaments are ornate, free-swinging stars and angels that look more like starched string figures than spider webs. Stick with Bodkin's recorded version, available on the audiotape, Winter Cherries: Holiday Tales From Around the World (1994). (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152014599
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/28/2001
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.62(h) x (d)
Age Range:
3 Years

Meet the Author


ODDS BODKIN is an acclaimed storyteller, composer, and teacher. He lives in New Hampshire.

TERRY WIDENER’s widely praised work includes several picture books that have been honored as New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Books of the Year. He lives in Texas.

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The Christmas Cobwebs 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Sam024 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this story. It is a great book to read at Christmas time and to teach kids how to be grateful for what they have. This story reminds everyone that it is not the gifts and decorations that are important at Christmas time but that it is being with those you love. I would recommend this book to any who was looking for a fun Christmas story to help get them and their children in the Christmas spirit. This story can remind us that if we are kind to those around us, then we will receive kindness in return.