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PRAIRIE CHRISTMAS by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk


by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk & illustrated by Ronald Himler

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8028-5280-7
Publisher: Eerdmans

In this thoughtful, first-person narrative of pioneer life in 1880, Emma is ten years old, living with her mother in Nebraska in a small but comfortable home out on the prairie. Emma’s mother is a doctor, and because it’s just the two of them in their household, Emma must accompany her mother whenever she goes out on house calls with her horse and buggy. In the middle of the night on Christmas, they are summoned to help with the delivery of a baby on a neighboring farm. At first Emma is resentful that her Christmas will be spent waiting for her mother, but she finds that she is needed to help with the two younger children of the family while all the parents are occupied with the new baby’s arrival. Emma helps the brother and sister decorate their Christmas tree with simple items from the house, cooks them breakfast and waits for hours with the children and more neighbors who come to help. Himler’s soft-focus illustrations in pencil and watercolor provide quiet but dramatic views of a simpler time, with expressive faces on both people and animals. (Picture book. 4-8)