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by Susan Hill & illustrated by John Lawrence

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-56402-341-9
Publisher: Candlewick

 This single-author holiday anthology fairly drips with sugary nostalgia for a storybook version of an English Christmas. A novella, set in the late 1940s, portrays the young daughter of a poor seamstress trying to keep Christmas while her mother lies ill with pneumonia (the local gentry save the day with a hamper of Christmas treats); another reminisces about an Edwardian Christmas at an Anglican parsonage where, after holly-laden festivities, the young daughter pays pastoral calls with Papa, bearing a hamper of Christmas goodies. One short story describes a boy's breathless sledding on a longed-for white Christmas; another is about a lonely old widower who finds an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve and takes it to a hospital, where it is laid lovingly in the annual cräche scene. A final, tedious poem listens to a litany of animals echoing a message on midnight Christmas Eve, summoning all to a wondrous stable scene. Long on misty-eyed description, short on plot and character development, Hill's (King of Kings, 1993, etc.) treacly tales are illustrated with unappealing dark woodcuts, many of them too small. (Fiction. 5+)