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by Susan Hill & illustrated by Valerie Littlewood

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 1-56402-111-4
Publisher: Candlewick

 A charming, old-fashioned story of poverty's hardships dispelled in time for Christmas, set in Britain soon after WW II. Tilly and her widowed mother share a rundown apartment, supported by the mother's sewing. When her mother falls ill, Tilly cares for her with the help of a kind doctor; then, when a leaky roof ruins an unfinished wedding dress of expensive satin, she bravely elects to confide in the bride-to be, though she has previously felt uncomfortable in the well-to-do Kendalls' home. Miss Kendall and her family respond generously, not only providing a hamper of goodies and funds for new satin but also insisting that the stingy landlord make much-needed repairs. Meanwhile, Tilly's friend downstairs--a nice old lady who has trunks full of treasures from better times--has given her some treasured ornaments that help make Christmas complete. The sentimentality here is effectively tempered by the brisk, economical telling. Littlewood adds frequent crosshatched vignettes, in the manner of Ardizzone, plus a dozen sweetly evocative full-page paintings. Without the verve of Rumer Godden's stories, but with similar appeal: a pleasing holiday heartwarmer. (Fiction. 8-11)