Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Cynthia Rylant & illustrated by Diane Goode

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-439-07334-0
Publisher: Scholastic

Newbery Medalist Rylant and Goode collaborate again for the first time since their Caldecott Honor Book, When I Was Young in the Mountains (1982). This offering also explores the experiences of a little girl who leads an old-fashioned life in a cozy home with her grandparents (as did Rylant for several years of her childhood). In first-person narrative, the unnamed little girl and her grandparents prepare for a traditional but simple Christmas: putting up lights, decorating the tree, attending church, opening a few presents early Christmas morning, and welcoming guests for Christmas dinner. Goode’s loose watercolor-and-ink illustrations help create a cheery, comfortable home in which the little girl is tenderly loved and cared for. The child knows that Christmas will unfold each year in just the same ways with the predictability of family tradition that all children love. The setting and time period are not specified: somewhere in a place with hills and lots of snow and tolerance for an integrated community, as the family attends an integrated church and includes African-American friends in their Christmas dinner plans. The time period could be anywhere from the 1930s to the ’50s, but it’s definitely a much calmer and simpler time when a quiet, meaningful Christmas was within everyone’s reach. A serene and soothing look at the holiday, just right to share with a child while sipping cocoa and nibbling Christmas cookies. (Picture book. 3-5)