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THE SPIDER'S GIFT by Eric A. Kimmel


A Ukrainian Christmas Story

by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Katya Krenina

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8234-1743-8
Publisher: Holiday House

A preeminent interpreter of folktales and a talented Ukrainian-American artist join forces for this dramatic retelling of a traditional Ukrainian Christmas story. In this version, teenaged Katrusya and her poverty-stricken family prepare for the holiday with traditional foods and a simple tree from the forest decorated with strings of brass buttons. Spider eggs are discovered on the tree, but the family keeps the tree anyway so the baby spiders won’t die in the freezing winter weather. On Christmas Eve the family is repaid for their kindness when the spiderwebs on the tree turn to real silver, and the buttons turn to gold. Kimmel’s polished retelling includes details of foods, traditions and terminology, and Krenina’s evocative paintings in a dark, moody palette show the difficult life and strong ties of the extended family. (author’s note) (Picture book/folktale. 5-9)