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Christmas Tapestry

Christmas Tapestry

4.3 6
by Patricia Polacco

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When a bad leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father's church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks his family's first Christmas Eve service in Detroit will be ruined, too. But then he and his father find a beautiful tapestry for sale in a secondhand shop. Just the thing to cover the damaged wall and give the church a festive look! But then, amazingly, an old Jewish woman


When a bad leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father's church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks his family's first Christmas Eve service in Detroit will be ruined, too. But then he and his father find a beautiful tapestry for sale in a secondhand shop. Just the thing to cover the damaged wall and give the church a festive look! But then, amazingly, an old Jewish woman who is visiting the church recognizes the beautiful cloth. It is her discovery that leads to a real miracle on Christmas Eve.

This timely tale of love and generosity between people of different religious faiths is a wonderful showcase for Polacco's art. It features snowy holiday scenes and a colorful tapestry that is almost a character in itself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Polacco's (The Keeping Quilt) knack for spinning seemingly disparate characters and plot elements into personal yarns works to great effect in this holiday picture book, based on a "true story" told as a church homily. Jonathan resents his Baptist preacher father's reassignment from Memphis to a dilapidated church in Detroit, and he's dismayed when damage from a blizzard ruins months of planning to restore the building in time for Christmas Eve services. But the elegant-looking, bargain-priced tapestry he and his dad purchase to cover the damage miraculously brings about the reunion of an elderly Jewish couple separated decades earlier during the Holocaust. Though the tale slows in spots, Polacco's signature illustrations of swirling snow, the fine tapestry and numerous love-filled faces invite readers to linger. All ages. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Jonathan has made a good adjustment to life in Michigan after his father takes over as the pastor of a rundown Baptist church. The whole family has worked hard to renovate the building and restore the congregation. The boy becomes distraught, however, when a snowstorm causes a leak and ruins the wall behind the altar just before Christmas. In a series of events that would strain belief in anything other than a holiday story, he and his father find a tapestry to cover the wall and bring about a reunion between two Holocaust survivors who had used the hand-stitched cloth as their wedding canopy. An author's note cites two different Christian ministers as the source of this sentimental story. It is well suited to Polacco's signature theme of ecumenical tolerance and illustrated with her familiar pencil-and-watercolor artwork.-V. W. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This longer Christmas story centers on an embroidered tapestry purchased to hang in a church for the Christmas Eve service. As with many of her works, Polacco (When Lightning Comes in a Jar, p. 665, etc.) sets her story in Michigan, this time in wintry Detroit. Young Jonathan resents his family’s recent move from Tennessee to where his minister father has been reassigned to renovate an old church and revive its congregation. Through a series of Dickensian trials and coincidences, the tapestry is purchased to cover some water damage to a church wall, and an elderly Jewish woman (and Holocaust survivor) whom the family has befriended recognizes the tapestry as the one she made in pre-WWII Germany for her wedding ceremony. In an ending worthy of O. Henry, the repairman who arrives on Christmas Eve to inspect the water damage turns out to be the woman’s long-lost husband (each thought the other had died in the Holocaust), and the devoted couple is reunited. Polacco succeeds as always with her watercolor-and-pencil illustrations in creating unique, expressive characters who seem to have real lives in their snowy city streets, cozy living rooms, and busy church. The gentle, reassuring message, suggested to Jonathan by his kindly father, is that "the universe unfolds as it should," even when we don’t understand the pattern of the tapestry. (author’s source note) (Picture book. 7-10)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.36(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

About this Author...

Patricia Polacco (www.patriciapolacco.com) is the beloved New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of over fifty picture books. She visits as many as two hundred classrooms in a single year, not only speaking but listening to the hundreds of children that she meets. Grateful for what teachers have done for her, she is also a popular keynote speaker celebrating teachers everywhere. She lives in Union City, Michigan, where she enjoys speaking to the myriad children who come to visit her and the famous meteor, the object of one of Patricia’s best-known stories.

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Christmas Tapestry 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Adapting her tale from homilies she has heard author/illustrator Patricia Polacco relates a touching story of two families and two faiths brought together by chance - or, was it? Jonathan Jefferson Weeks is an unhappy boy because his father is appointed to a new church in Detroit,Michigan, and the family has left their home in Memphis. Jonathan has never seen a place like this: the church is all but falling down and the parsonage is right next door. Now, everyone will immediately know that he's a preacher's kid! His sister, Beth, shares his feelings, but both children try to help make the dilapidated church into a place of beauty. As autumn arrives there is a noticeable improvement. School begins, and they make new friends. Then, after months of hard work and planning the Weeks family is looking forward to their first Christmas in their new church. They're sure it will be a beautiful and happy holiday. What they hadn't planned on was Michigan winter weather. The worst snow storm in 25 years hits Detroit causing a leak which ruins the sacristy wall. Discouraged but still determined to make the best of things Jonathan and his father go out to buy Christmas decorations. Looking in the window of an antique shop they see a beautiful piece of cloth, just large enough to cover the stain on the wall. But, the cloth is so much more than a lovely tapestry as is revealed by an elderly Jewish woman who is befriended by Jonathan and his father. Patricia Polacco has given us a lovely Christmas story filled with friendship and faith.
glowpugh More than 1 year ago
Patricia Polacco writes and illustrates all her own works...she is brilliant! Great story for the holidays. Bought it for my 6 year old grand daughter for Christmas. Loved reading it to her. She really enjoyed it, too. glowpugh
smmoh More than 1 year ago
Polacco has an amazing ability to tell stories that touch every readers heart. Grab a tissue and enjoy an amazing story filled with love and the Christmas spirit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though this is a children's book more adults than children will recognize the point of the story. It is a wonderful and moving story about the human spirit. I recommend the book to churches and synagogues as well as schools and families.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I think this is a good book because it teaches you about hope. I like this author. She is a good author. This book is about a little boy and his dad. They purchased a church with a hole in the wall. So they bought a tapestry for the wall. They were going home and saw an old lady then asked,¿ Do you want to have some hot cocoa?¿ She said,¿ Sure.¿ The boy said,¿ let¿s go to the church and meet the repair guy.¿ So on the way, the lady told them that her and her husband got split up a long time ago. It turns out the repair guy was her husband. Reviewed By: Stephen
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am sorry but, I mean, if a married couple separated in the Holocaust lived in Detroit all those years, don't you think they would have run into one another!? Jewish communities in the Midwest, much like in Brazil, are smaller than on the East Coast. And much tighter, a result of anti-semitism in farmy regions the good ole' USA. Even if this book was based on events which occured before the internet, I can't beleive these people didn't brush elbows at Temple or look the other one up in the phone book. One of us, one of us...