The realistically recounted separation and reunion of an Indian family makes a gently satisfying Christmas story, by a Canadian team who live in the British Columbia setting. For two weeks, Tomas has been staying with Nurse Roberta while his parents help Uncle Alphonse bring their cattle back to the reservation. Expected sooner, they must surely keep their promise to come home today, since it is Christmas Eve. After school, Nurse Roberta and Tomas wrap gifts and then go to his house to set up a Christmas tree; when she is called away for an emergency, he is left alone to tend the fire. After lighting a hopeful candle, Tomas sleeps; waking, he finds his parents home at last, drawn by the love represented by his candle. Blades has beautifully illustrated this simple story in watercolor paintings that capture the essence of the winter sky and crisp snow; the peaceful, orderly interiors of Roberta's cozy house and Tomas' more modest home; Tomas' wonder and contentment at his tree decorated with home-made ornaments, and the loving reunion of the little family. The text will stretch young readers with occasional phrases such as "". . .light filtered through the frosted windowpane and lay like ice on the. . .floor."" A good choice for second- or third-grade readers or younger listeners.