A king buys a bolt of bright red cloth on the day before Christmas, setting off a chain of gift-making that spreads throughout his kingdom, from his daughter to a tiny mouse.
The royal seamstresses work all morning to make a long cloak for the princess. They leave the fabric remnants at the back door of the castle, where a kitchen maid finds them. She takes the cloth home and sews a jacket for her mother. This pattern is repeated, with a badger making a hat for his father, a squirrel stitching gloves for his wife and a mouse using the last, tiny scrap as a scarf for her little son. Each gift-giver is pleased with his or her offering, and all the recipients are grateful for their warm, red gifts. The final spread shows all the pairs ice skating together, with each recipient wearing their red clothing. Charming illustrations in mixed media include cloth and paper pattern pieces, with lines of stitching and ribbons cleverly dividing pages with multiple spot illustrations. The succinct text has the satisfying feel of a folk tale, and it’s the sort of story children will want to hear over and over—and the kind adults won’t mind reading many times.
Just right. (Picture book. 3-7)