COAL COUNTRY CHRISTMAS by Elizabeth Ferguson Brown


Age Range: 5 - 9
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Set in Pennsylvania coal country in the middle of the last century, this first-person narrative tells of a girl’s Christmas visit to her grandmother’s house. The little girl, her mother, and the grandmother are all named Liz, and the story explores the strong bond between the three generations of women. Brown touches lightly upon the unfortunate circumstances of living in coal country with a hint of sadness, inevitability, and acceptance. The grandfather of the family died from black-lung disease, and a quiet, calm statement conveys that most of this family is female because the men don’t live long lives. The warmth of the loving family and their happy Christmas celebration contrasts with an undercurrent of sadness that runs underneath the story like the coal underground: everyone misses the grandfather, the grandmother is growing older and grayer, and the little girl will miss everyone when she and her mother return home. Stevenson’s evocative paintings in smoky shades always include some source of golden light, symbolic of the hope that still shines in these lives. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-59078-020-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2003


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