The Wee Christmas Cabin

The Wee Christmas Cabin

by Margaret Hodges, Kimberly Bulcken Root
     
 

Readers of all ages will marvel at the intricately detailed artwork in this masterful retelling of a beloved Irish tale.

All of her life Oona dreams of having a cabin of her own. Left on a doorstep as a baby, she grows to be the prettiest, gentlest lass in the county; but no lad will marry the daughter of traveling tinkers. So Oona moves from cabin to cabin,

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Overview

Readers of all ages will marvel at the intricately detailed artwork in this masterful retelling of a beloved Irish tale.

All of her life Oona dreams of having a cabin of her own. Left on a doorstep as a baby, she grows to be the prettiest, gentlest lass in the county; but no lad will marry the daughter of traveling tinkers. So Oona moves from cabin to cabin, helping wherever there is trouble or need. When the Great Famine comes and the last of the potatoes is eaten, Oona knows she must leave. She sets out on a snowy Christmas Eve, bidding a silent farewell to the village, and finally drifts off to sleep under a thornbush. But the magic of a white Christmas awaits her, as do hundreds of fairies, all wanting to make her dream come true.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
One night, a baby girl was left at the doorstep of the Bridget and Conal Hegarty's cabin. The Hegartys named her Oona and raised the baby girl as one of their own. The time came when Oona had to leave the home that she knew. She faced the world by helping in homes where she could lend a hand in the household. When the time came that her help was no longer needed in the home, she moved on with hopes that someday she would a have a place to call her own. The famine arrives, and she leaves one family so as not to be a burden. Oona goes out into the snowy night of Christmas Eve. She finds shelter in a thornbush and drifts to sleep. When she awakens, Oona is greeted by hundreds of fairies who had kept an eye on her throughout her life. It is time for a little Christmas miracle and magic. This Irish fairy tale is beautifully illustrated in watercolors. The details of the fairies and on the textiles are elaborate. The color schemes support by creating the mood of the story. This book would be a nice addition for different units of study because of its many points for discussion such as history, story genre, themes, or illustrations to name a few areas. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3–In Hodges’s retelling of Ruth Sawyer’s “The Christmas Cabin of Carn-na-ween,” a poor tinker’s daughter, Oona Hegarty, spends a lifetime selflessly helping families in need. In the midst of a bleak Christmas Eve during the Great Potato Famine, she lays down under a blackthorn bush with no place to call her own. The fairies, having witnessed her good deeds over the years, decide to honor the old woman by building her a cabin full of food and warmth. From then on, on every white Christmas, her home becomes a refuge for “old ones not needed any longer by others, children crying for their mothers, and lads and lasses in trouble.” Root’s watercolor illustrations so effectively capture the gloomy Irish winter that one can almost feel the cold seeping through the pages. Told with less of a brogue than the original, but retaining all the same major elements, this update of a classic is a highly accessible version for today’s young readers.-Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Oona, abandoned as a baby, grows into "the prettiest and gentlest-mannered lass in the county," but no one wants a tinker's child. She goes from cabin to cabin as she ages, taking care of its residents as long as they need her, till finally the fairies build her a wee cabin of her own one Christmas Eve during the Famine, to which Oona welcomes the needy on white Christmases thereafter. Hodges's retelling of Ruth Sawyer's 1941 story, "The Wee Christmas Cabin of Carn-a-Ween," shortens the original significantly and edits out much of the cruelty directed at the "tinker's child," but it loses much of its Irish musicality and emotional heft thereby. While this adaptation's nice enough, it's worth waiting till the kids are older and introducing them to the original, perhaps with Max Grafe's 2005 illustrated edition. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823415281
Publisher:
Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
07/15/2009
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Margaret Hodges (1911-2005) was a distinguished folklorist recognized for her retellings. Her titles included the Caldecott Medal-winning Saint George and the Dragon, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, and Gulliver in Lilliput, illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root.

Kimberly Bulcken Root has illustrated several acclaimed books for children. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, she lives with her family in rural Pennsylvania.

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