In a square-format, paper-over-board book, a girl prepares for Christmas with her stuffed sheep in tow, while unrhymed verse (which turns out to be from the sheep’s perspective) offers simple assurances of love: “When you twist the strings/ When you hang the star/ That’s when I love you.” Ainslie’s sweet illustrations suggest a world in miniature as the girl tries to sleep on Christmas Eve and discovers her presents under the tree, giving one to her sheep. The girl’s affection for her stuffed animal mirrors the evergreen love between a child and guardian. Ages 3�up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Christine Cassello
What are some things you love at Christmas? This book shows a little girl wrapping presents, mixing cookie dough, decorating the Christmas tree, singing and dancing, having trouble sleeping and waking up early excited to get and give Christmas presents. As the pictures show her doing each of these things, the words say "When you ____, I love you." But, who is talking? Is it her parents? Is it a brother or sister? Is it a friend? It is only when we get to the last pages that we can see who it is and then we look back and see that the narrator was in each picture. That was very clever and I had to smile when I found out who it really was. Parents and children reading it can play a guessing game and see if anyone figures it out, or who is the first one to guess right and then go back and look at the pictures again to find the speaker. Reviewer: Christine Cassello
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—An unnamed narrator waxes enthusiastic over every holiday-related activity a young girl participates in ("When you wrap your gifts/When you tie the bows/That's when I love you"). Who is this narrator? A parent? A grandparent? The final spread reveals that it is the toy lamb pictured throughout. The pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations are simple and rather charming, showing an apple-cheeked child cheerfully wrapping, decorating, writing cards, and so on. A sentimental, additional offering.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
A little preschool-age girl prepares for Christmas as her adoring lamb toy watches in this sweet story first published in Australia.
The text follows a pattern of two activities that lead to a reassuring, repeated refrain: "When you wrap your gifts / When you tie the bows / That's when I love you." The lamb toy watches in smiling silence as the little girl makes cookies, decorates the tree, sings and dances to Christmas music and makes cards. She tosses and turns trying to get to sleep on Christmas Eve (with the lamb next to her in bed). On Christmas morning, readers see that the cookies, the card and the wrapped presents are all for the lamb. On one of the last pages ("when you lift me high"), the girl holds up the lamb, who is wearing a new scarf and hat. Adult readers will see that the loving relationship between the child and her lamb is symbolic of that between parent and child. Charming, simple illustrations with minimal backgrounds suit the nature of the story.
A pleasing story for preschoolers to enjoy with a favorite stuffed animal and a Christmas cookie.(Picture book. 2-5)