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LITTLEJIM'S GIFT by Gloria Houston

LITTLEJIM'S GIFT

An Appalachian Christmas Story

by Gloria Houston & illustrated by Thomas B. Allen

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-22696-6
Publisher: Philomel

 It's Christmastime. In an Appalachian hollow, Littlejim's (Littlejim, 1990, etc.) family works hard to get by. That doesn't mean that 11-year-old Littlejim hasn't hopes and longings--he'd like to go to the church Christmas tree celebration, he'd like to be considered a man by his father, he'd like to use his father's tools--but his old man is a hard-hearted brute who squashes Littlejim's dreams (``No time for funning and frolicking. No time for celebrating''). By dint of hard work, Littlejim manages to turn things around: The family gets to attend the tree celebration, his father grudgingly begins to respect Littlejim's young manhood, Littlejim even finds a way to give his sister a longed-for doll. Sweetness and melancholy vie for space without a clear victor; sadness seems to edge every act and circumstance. Adding a brooding quality are Allen's somber pastels. Not a book to brace and inspire: The message is all but lost in the story's depressing tone. Life is tough, and even good deeds demand a sacrifice. (Fiction/Picture book. 6-10)