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AT CHISTMASTIME by Valerie Worth


by Valerie Worth & illustrated by Antonio Frasconi

Age Range: 3 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-06-205019-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

 A cycle of 29 spare, exquisitely phrased poems, from ``Early December'' to ``Twelfth Night,'' concluded by ``Spring'' with its last remnant of ``a single/Crumpled strand/Of Christmas tinsel'' and its reminder that the cycle will be renewed. Traditional pleasures--wreaths and lights, wrappings and trees--get first billing here; a ``shabby'' cräche (``It's hard/To explain//Their sturdy/Abiding/Beauty'') marks a brief transition to wise men and angels before a return to stockings, toys, and dinner. But even the coziest subjects become epiphanies in Worth's lucid voice; her fresh imagery and graceful, deceptively simple language offer crisp insights as well as a pleasant nostalgic glow. Meanwhile, Frasconi's radiant woodcuts are a kaleidoscope of sophisticated tree-light colors, splendidly capturing the essence of Christmas. Like a pile of gifts, each is a new delight, but the woodcut medium and such visual themes as lights, glimpses through windows, and the stars tie it subtly together. A treasure, twice over. (Poetry/Picture book. 3+)