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by Lucretia Hale & adapted by Elizabeth Spurr & illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2010
ISBN: 0-689-83023-8
Publisher: Atheneum

This adapted excerpt from the 19th-century classic The Peterkin Papers focuses on the foolish family’s preparations for Christmas, with the specific problems of a Christmas tree that’s too tall for the parlor, a lack of proper decorations for such a huge tree, and a piano that can be played only through an open window. Preposterous solutions ensue until Christmas Eve arrives along with visiting family and a snowstorm. The whimsical nature of the Peterkin family is matched by Halperin’s nostalgic, delicate paintings, which are framed with swirling borders that suggest antique picture frames. Additional spot illustrations are interspersed throughout the text pages, sometimes helping to explain old-fashioned terms or tools. The quietly humorous story focuses on the daughter of the family, Elizabeth Eliza, and includes excerpts from her letters to the Lady from Philadelphia (who is always mysteriously there with the obvious answer), set off in italics to distinguish them from the third-person text. (Picture book. 6-9)