The Winter Gift

Overview

All that was left in Grandma's house was her big brown piano and its bench. Clee's family had always spent Christmas at Grandma's but there would be no more family Christmases at Grandma's with all the wonderful cooking smells, the music and the house full of people. Grandma would no longer sit at the piano and play, Clee's younger brother Simon would no longer pound notes on the piano for the storm outside or the icicles melting. Grandma was moving and there was no room for the...
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Overview

All that was left in Grandma's house was her big brown piano and its bench. Clee's family had always spent Christmas at Grandma's but there would be no more family Christmases at Grandma's with all the wonderful cooking smells, the music and the house full of people. Grandma would no longer sit at the piano and play, Clee's younger brother Simon would no longer pound notes on the piano for the storm outside or the icicles melting. Grandma was moving and there was no room for the piano in her new apartment.

Now they were waiting for a gentleman to arrive who wanted to buy the piano. The grumbling old man said the ivory keys were chipped, the piano was very old, and he didn't want an upright piano that probably wouldn't hold a tune. Grandma sat down at the piano and began to play. The music swirled around her like "a ribbon of sound." She looked at the faces of her grandchildren, turned to the man and said, "The piano isn't for sale." That night Clee, Simon, and Grandma slept near the piano in Grandma's empty house.

Christmas came to Clee's house but it wasn't the same as Grandma's old house. Uncle Fishtank Hal arrived and entertained the family with songs and dances. It wasn't the same without the old brown piano. Christmas morning there were presents under the tree for everyone but the best present of all was Grandma's old brown piano that had mysteriously appeared. Grandma played while the family created a song about Christmas morning. A new family tradition had begun.

Zagwyn is the author of six other books for children including The Pumpkin Blanket, Turtle Spring, and Apple Batter all featuring Clee. The Winter Gift is a quiet story about family traditions and the importance of music in people's lives. The bright watercolor illustrations add to the story showing details not included in the prose. The ribbon theme is carried out through the book with various colors as borders on each page. One can feel the warmth and love of the family in the faces of the characters.

Families should enjoy reading this aloud especially during the holidays and perhaps trying to play the music and sing the words to "A'Soalin," which is reproduced at the end of the book.

At Christmas, while she is moving to an apartment, Gramma tries to sell the old family piano but changes her mind when she sees how much her grandchildren love it and the memories it holds.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Gramma's house is up for sale. Everything has been sold or moved to her new home—except for the upright piano. Gramma, Clee, and Simon sit waiting for the piano man to come and take this away, too. While they experience the scrutiny of the buyer, they discover the treasure of all the little quirks of the piano. It holds many memories for Gramma and is a great source of entertainment for the children. Christmas turns out to be perfect, with one very large gift! 2000, Tricycle Press, $15.95. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: C. Leonard SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
Children's Literature
Change is inevitable and often painful, but in this story of change, the reader is shown how the threads running through the life of a family hold the generations together through the upsetting times. Clee's family always got together for Christmas at Gramma's house because Gramma's house was always full of decorations, delicious smells and music. This year is different. The house is almost empty. Only three boxes and the big piano and bench remain. Gramma is moving to an apartment where there will be very little room, so she is planning to sell the piano. The text almost brings alive the musical sounds and does capture the joy Gramma and her grandchildren experience as they play around that old brown piano. Appealing illustrations glow with the love that is apparent between Clee and her grandmother. A lovely book with a happy, yet poignant, ending meant to be shared by parents, grandparents and children. 2000, Tricycle Press, Ages 5 to 8, $15.95. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
From The Critics
All that was left in Grandma's house was her big brown piano and its bench. Clee's family had always spent Christmas at Grandma's but there would be no more family Christmases at Grandma's with all the wonderful cooking smells, the music and the house full of people. Grandma would no longer sit at the piano and play, Clee's younger brother Simon would no longer pound notes on the piano for the storm outside or the icicles melting. Grandma was moving and there was no room for the piano in her new apartment. Now they were waiting for a gentleman to arrive who wanted to buy the piano. The grumbling old man said the ivory keys were chipped, the piano was very old, and he didn't want an upright piano that probably wouldn't hold a tune. Grandma sat down at the piano and began to play. The music swirled around her like "a ribbon of sound." She looked at the faces of her grandchildren, turned to the man and said, "The piano isn't for sale." That night Clee, Simon, and Grandma slept near the piano in Grandma's empty house. Christmas came to Clee's house but it wasn't the same as Grandma's old house. Uncle Fishtank Hal arrived and entertained the family with songs and dances. It wasn't the same without the old brown piano. Christmas morning there were presents under the tree for everyone but the best present of all was Grandma's old brown piano that had mysteriously appeared. Grandma played while the family created a song about Christmas morning. A new family tradition had begun. Zagwyn is the author of six other books for children including The Pumpkin Blanket, Turtle Spring, and Apple Batter all featuring Clee. The Winter Gift is a quiet story about family traditions and the importance of musicin people's lives. The bright watercolor illustrations add to the story showing details not included in the prose. The ribbon theme is carried out through the book with various colors as borders on each page. One can feel the warmth and love of the family in the faces of the characters. Families should enjoy reading this aloud especially during the holidays and perhaps trying to play the music and sing the words to "A'Soalin," which is reproduced at the end of the book.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883672935
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.36 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.46 (d)

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