The Perfect Christmas


Family one: exquisite pastries, a beautifully trimmed tree, and festive cello music.


Family two: an artificial tree, rock hard candy, and custom kazoo carols.


Full of silly humor, this cheerful picture book proves that no matter how you celebrate Christmas, it?s the spirit of the holiday that counts the most.

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Family one: exquisite pastries, a beautifully trimmed tree, and festive cello music.


Family two: an artificial tree, rock hard candy, and custom kazoo carols.


Full of silly humor, this cheerful picture book proves that no matter how you celebrate Christmas, it’s the spirit of the holiday that counts the most.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The creators of The Perfect Thanksgiving celebrate another holiday in this companion book that revisits an endearingly flawed family. Once again, the narrator laments that her clan’s festivities fall far short of their neighbors’: “Abigail Archer’s family/ is perfect as can be./ They drive into the countryside/ to chop down their Christmas tree.” In contrast, “Our tree is artificial,/ completely out of shape,/ with several branches missing/ and one held on with tape.” Merrily underscoring the differences between the two households, Adinolfi’s quirky mixed-media art is a playful jumble of geometric shapes and holiday motifs. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"...tasteful and tacky go head-to-head in “The Perfect Christmas,” a lighthearted study in contrasting holiday styles."—


“…the jolly collage art ties it all together, depicting each family’s traditions with finesse.” —Horn Book Magazine


“This is a cheerful, funny, and respectful portrayal of two very different families and their holiday celebrations.” —School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Christmas is joyful no matter how you celebrate it. You can have an artificial tree with wispy branches or go with your parents to pick out and cut a live tree. You can decorate your house with fancy wreaths or stuff you buy in bargain bins. Your homemade baked goods can be yummy or hard as stones. Fancy gifts or simple gifts, either is fine. And playing the kazoo instead of the cello can be just as much fun. What matters is what is in your heart. Christmas is especially wonderful if it snows, because then everybody shares the feeling whether rich or poor. Ms. Spinelli's rhymes are wonderful and Ms. Adinolfi's drawings are charming. This book will give the reader the "warm and fuzzies" every time it is read, which is sure to be often. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—In this lighthearted rhyming companion to The Perfect Thanksgiving (Holt, 2003), the same unnamed narrator compares and contrasts her own family's Christmas preparations with those of her wealthy friend Abigail Archer. "On Christmas Eve at Abigail's/her relatives come in cars./Chauffeur-driven! Glamorous clothes!/They look like movie stars./My relatives come in pickup trucks./They clatter up the walk./They ho-ho-ho and jingle bell./They shout instead of talk." Cartoon art in bold colored pencil, gouache, and collage adds to the humor. This is a cheerful, funny, and respectful portrayal of two very different families and their holiday celebrations.—Maureen Wade, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

Spinelli and Adinolfi team up again for a look at another perfect holiday celebration, following the same families chronicled in their collaboration onThe Perfect Thanksgiving(2003).

The unnamed narrator describes her family's preparations for a casual, homemade Christmas celebration, contrasting their way of doing things with those of her best friend and neighbor, Abigail Archer. In rhyming quatrains, the narrator tells about Abigail's family, "as perfect as can be," cutting their own Christmas tree, arranging elegant decorations and serving gourmet treats. The narrator's family has a more casual approach, with a scrawny, artificial tree, recycled decorations and cookies so hard one once "broke my uncle's toe." Though the comparisons are humorous and both girls seem happy, the Archer family is obviously wealthier than that of the narrator, and some of the comparisons (for example, between a chauffeur-driven limousine and a pickup truck) are both exaggerated and elitist. By the conclusion, both families are outside on equal footing, enjoying a snowfall together. Adinolfi's cheerful collage illustrations in a naïve style provide a bright, detailed environment and multiracial families in both homes.

The author's point may be that anyjoyous celebration with a happy family is a perfect Christmas, but this class-based comparison doesn't seem to be the aptest focus for a children's holiday story.(Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805087024
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Eileen Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli is the author of many books for young readers, including The Perfect Thanksgiving and In My New Yellow Shirt, which was a Bank Street College of Education Best Book. She lives in Pennsylvania with author Jerry Spinelli. Sometimes Eileen hides the Christmas cookies from Jerry so well she doesn't find them until Valentine's Day.


JoAnn Adinolfi has illustrated twenty-five books for young readers, including Halloween Hoots and Howls, The Perfect Thanksgiving, and Hippopotamus Stew. Born and raised on Staten Island in New York City, she now lives in New Hampshire with her family.

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