Sunday, November 29, 2009

Children's Book Monday

A Christmas Like Helen's
by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Illustrated by Mary Azarian

We've fallen in love with woodcut illustrations over here, and this book is a beauty! Illustrated by an artist we love from another CBM review, here is a look at Christmas through Helen's eyes, but to have a Christmas just like hers, there are a few things you'll need...

... a love for animals, for the deer and the bears and the coyotes that saunter through the surrounding farmland. For the farm animals themselves, especially the big black-and-white tom that lets you dress him up and push him around in a doll carriage.

... four brothers to sled with and roll in the snow.

... real horses, for sugaring and logging, plowing and mowing.

Most of us don't have these things, as well as the myriad others mentioned in the book, but reading about Helen's family, her community, and her girlhood is the next-best-thing to actually living it!

The author wrote this book about her grandmother, lovingly retelling her story here. Of the six miles to church in the horse-drawn wagon, and how the miles flew by because father and mother told stories of their childhood; of growing up in Scotland, of castles, and ruins, and princes in hiding, of wailing bagpipes and cottages by the sea.

You will learn how the Christmas spirit lasts all year long in their community of farmers, for when one is ill, the others hay his fields and cut his wood. When another neighbor's barn burns down, everyone comes together to build him another.

Mother braids Helen's hair by the woodstove, siblings skate on moonlit ponds, bonnet-capped girls bring baskets of food to hardworking men. One year is thought to be Helen's last, for she is stricken with scarlet fever and her father carries her to see the candles on the tree.

But she survives.

And when her father wakes her in the middle of Christmas Eve night to see the newest foal being born and the promise of the coming Christmas day lingers in her heart while she watches, Helen knows that everything she could ever want is right there on that farm.

What a beautiful way to enter the season! Happy reading!

Ages 3-12

3 fellow travelers shared:

Stacy said...

Oh, I can't wait to get this book in my hands! :)

Thank you, Elise...

Stacey said...

How delightful! I am just itching to get to the library this week, but I am going to have to order this one on their website, so our trip may be delayed! My Emma will LOVE this book!

Thank you! Happy Advent, dear.

Kristin said...

Oh, Elise! I am so glad Children's Book Monday was back today because I have a book to share, too! And it is perfect to share TODAY. Here is my link:

Now I'm off to my library's website to put your suggestion on hold.

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