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The Madison kids are at it again, confronting the hard to handle with a fairly sturdy grip but in a much briefer compass. Renfroe's at the age when he'll divide a 75¢ store credit into a 25¢ knife for brother D. J. and a 50¢ knife for himself. Told he's getting selfish, he counters with ""I believe I like getting presents best, no matter what's more blessed."" He is honest, and he honestly looks into--and at first shelves a decision about--what's right and wrong. Should he have given his lasso to three neighbors with only an apple, an orange and a candy bar for Christmas? Should he have given friend Nutty use--or possession--of his yoyo after a Christmas of needed clothes? Each time he talks himself out of it and each time the angel he put on the smokehouse door seems a little less friendly. The author doesn't say what impels him to approach retarded Nathan Godfrey but the boy's apparent interest in Renfroe's new watch, so different from his usual blank stares, starts the wheels turning and Renfroe gives up this most prized present. The point is clear, the use of the angel as conscience and object of wind movement can stand up, and some of the exchanges are fast and funny, but ending with his first white Christmas is a bit flaky.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Viking