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by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3053-3
Publisher: Dial

A girl and her little brother spend a Depression-era Christmas on an island off the coast of Maine with their recently widowed father in this nostalgic, touching story of how Christmas surprises can arrive in amazing ways.

Frances and her little brother Peter face a bleak holiday on the island as their supplies dwindle before Christmas. Due to stormy weather, supply boats can’t come in, and Frances and Peter can’t leave the island to visit their aunt as they had planned. During a fierce storm, their father rescues a man from his boat as Frances keeps the light in the lighthouse lit. With their new visitor, they plan a simple Christmas celebration, with a pine branch as their tree and tiny, homemade presents. Just in time for Christmas, a small plane drops off a care package with food, toys and books from the Flying Santa (a Maine tradition from 1929 to the present). The quietly told, longish story and softly shaded illustrations evoke their spare, lonely life in the lighthouse and shows the love between sister and brother and parent and child.

A gentle but dramatic story of an earlier time, when just one care package could make a happy Christmas for an entire family. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)