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The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

4.9 20
by Susan Wojciechowski, P.J. Lynch (Illustrator), Patrick James Lynch (Illustrator)

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A woodcutter's wounded heart is healed and his faith is restored through a joyful miracle in this holiday classic. Over 600,000 copies have been sold. Includes a free cd recording of the book.


A woodcutter's wounded heart is healed and his faith is restored through a joyful miracle in this holiday classic. Over 600,000 copies have been sold. Includes a free cd recording of the book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Now with a new cover and new size (8 11/16" x 7 7/8"), The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (1995) by Susan Wojciechowski, illus. by P.J. Lynch, pairs what PW's starred review called an "elegant, poignant" story, about the spiritual reawakening of a bitter man, with richly detailed watercolors of an early-American setting.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The story of Jonathan Toomey, a widower who has withdrawn from the world, only to be brought back to rejoin life by a widow and her son, is a true Christmas treat. The touching story is made more poignant by Lynch's illustrations. His opening pictures of Toomey reveal a man in the shadows-grumpy and sad. As he and the young boy spend time together, the colors lighten and life brightens. A tour de force by author and illustrator.
Hazel Rochman
"Christmas is pish-posh," grumbles Jonathan Toomey, the best wood carver in the valley. He's a Scroogelike recluse; but he's a gentle grouch, it turns out, and he hides a sad secret. He's transformed, not by Dickensian ghosts, but by an eager seven-year-old boy and his widowed mother who ask him to make them a Christmas creche. The story verges on the sentimental, but it's told with feeling and lyricism (he "traveled till his tears stopped" ). Lynch's sweeping illustrations, in shades of wood grain, are both realistic and gloriously romantic, focusing on faces and hands at work before the fire and in the lamplight. In a beautiful, elemental scene, the angry wood carver stands on the threshold of his home, disturbed by the gentle widow and her son who want his help and will transform his life.
Children's Literature - Emily Griffin
A brand new illustration adorns the cover of this 20th anniversary edition of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. Over the years this beautiful story has become a must-read during the Christmas season. Jonathan Toomey, a talented woodcarver, is known throughout the village as “Mr. Gloomy.” His gruff manner and self-seclusion make him a bit of a mystery. When a widow and her seven-year-old son Thomas come to him with a woodworking job, they soon become much more involved in his life than he anticipates. As Toomey works on the figurines for a manger scene for the mother and son, to replace ones lost during their move to the village, Thomas wants to watch him work. Through persistence, kindness, and humor, the mother and son draw Toomey out of his sad past and into the world. An emotional and powerful tale is made even more so by master illustrator Lynch’s large, detailed, and warm drawings. A must-have picture book, it is ideal for a Christmas read-aloud. This new edition also includes two thoughtful notes by the author and illustrator. Reviewer: Emily Griffin; Ages 4 to 8.

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Series
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Product dimensions:
11.38(w) x 10.38(h) x 0.37(d)
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Wojciechowski, a former children’s librarian, is the author of numerous books for children, including a series of books about Beany, a lovable worrywart. She lives in York, Pennsylvania.

P.J. Lynch, one of today’s most revered illustrators, has won many awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal twice—for The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and When Jessie Came Across the Sea. He is also the illustrator of A Christmas Carol and The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland's Good Fortune. He lives in Dublin.

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Prof_McGonagall More than 1 year ago
I chose this book to read-aloud to my 2cd grade class not only for the spirit of Christmas, but because of the complex relationships of the characters. There are many lessons to be learned here and many concepts to be explored: bitterness, lingering sorrow, hope, friendship, remembrance, perseverance,and doing your best. There is not enough religious inferences (if any) in the book to cause a problem in secular schools but for those who are able, there are parallels which can be made.
Businessbookjunkie More than 1 year ago
This beautifully illustrated book has a touching message that you will want to read aloud to children and share with others. I bought several copies to share with friends and family this season. Great story and remarkable artwork.
IC2020 More than 1 year ago
This book will become a definite classic in your home. It will be read over and over. The nativity scene from the boy's perspective is absolutely fabulous - get this book!
MadBooker More than 1 year ago
This is a book that touches your heart about a crusty woodworker opening his heart again, and the sweet child and widowed mother's simple ways of helping him become whole again. Definitely a classic for your collection, and one I look forward to reading every year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a story about kindness and gentleness. It touched my heart enough that I want my own copy to share with the children in my life. I am a great-grandmother and I want to read it to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the children in our church family. The art work is wonderful. I also love how the author develops the relationships between the characters in the story. Heart warming and meaningful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a perfect melding of text and illustrations. The gentle tale unfolds slowly, which is appropriate to the era in which it takes place. There's a message, but it's not hard-hitting or maudlin. Suitable for young and old. The illustrations truly bring it to life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Christian story is lovely. It will make you smile, be hopeful, and tear up! It is a wonderful story to read with the family and put the spirit of Christmas in your hearts.
lmad40 More than 1 year ago
I am thrilled to see this book back on the b and n online shelf. I had bought this book years ago and enjoy it each Christmas. It is the epitome of what the season is about-family and the healing miracle of love. It is a MUST buy. A great gift.
KiddyLitLover More than 1 year ago
This is a holiday classic that will be an enriching experience for your entire family. The story is a touching tale about how the carving a nativity set for a widow and her son heals the heart of a gloomy woodcarver. It truly reflects the spirit of Christmas and will put a tear in your eye. Set aside a special time each holiday to read it aloud with your family. It is the most inspiring children's book I have ever found!
BuckyGirl More than 1 year ago
After reading other reviews, I purchased this book for my nephew for Christmas. I read it when it arrived and immediately purchased more for my other neices and nephews. The story is heartwarming without being corny. The idea that giving gifts of one's time and talents is one that is so often lost in our culture. This story shows them beatifully. It is also a story of redemption and self-forgiveness. What more could one ask of a Christmas story? I think kids of all ages will love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seattlelite1973 More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely Christmas story for the entire family. Read it a few times before the Holiday and on Christmas Day while driving to see relatives.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
If parents want. to buy a special book for their children this is one of the most special books they wiil enjoy for years to come and to pass on to their grand children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have given more copies of this book to friends than I can count. If you can read this book out loud and keep your voice from cracking, you're a better man than I am! The illustrations are exquisite, but it's the incredibly simple, touching story which captures the growing relationship between a little boy and a withdrawn adult that has my kids asking for this book to be read to them on average once a week.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A truly great story of the innocent healing gift of children. A must read for the true believer that all in life will have a happy ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Christmas Miracle has to be one of the sweetest, most heartwarming Christmas children's books that I have ever read. It's the story of a hard-nosed, grumpy old woodcarver whose sad life is turned into a happy one when a little piece of joy (and its widowed mother) move to town and make his acquaintance. Read it. I highly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first became acquainted with this book when a fellow educator read the book to a group of education leaders from across our state. After reading the book of hope and the true meaning of Christmas, she presented each listener with a small glass bottle filled with a few wood shavings. She had tied brightly colored ribbons to each bottle. The shavings in the bottle represented the impact that we can have on the lives of others by showing that we care and that the best gifts we can give are not ones that cost a lot of dollars. This book has greatly impacted the way I celebrate the holiday season.