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A Christmas That Changed the World

by Douglas Wood & illustrated by Barry Moser

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3383-7
Publisher: Candlewick

An engaging chronicle of the month that Roosevelt and Churchill spent together at the White House, forging an affectionate friendship as well as a world-changing alliance.

In the waning days of 1941, when prospects for victory in either Europe or the Pacific were dismal, the two leaders optimistically engaged in a marathon series of meetings to plan strategies that ultimately resulted in victory and transformed the world. Wood's narrative effectively captures both the desperation of the times and how much Churchill and Roosevelt genuinely enjoyed each other's company. Moser's detailed watercolor illustrations likewise capture their robust personalities. Despite balanced attention to both men, the eccentric Churchill emerges as more memorable, in both text illustration; most entertaining of the latter is of Churchill, ever-present cigar in mouth, toweling off beside the bathtub. As interesting and insightful as this story is, it may have a hard time finding an audience. Younger readers will not have the background knowledge to understand the historical context of the story, and older readers are unlikely to find the picture-book format appealing.

Those older readers who buck the format, though, will find themselves in for a treat. (afterword, author's note, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-10)