Four Friends at Christmas

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Four Friends at Christmas Book Poster Image
Sweet, simple holiday tale to share with friends.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Holiday celebrations are more fun when friends get together.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Friends help each other out and try to make the holiday special for one another.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this cute, simple story of friendship and Christmas celebration was previously one of four stories, the one entitled Winter, contained in Tomie de Paola's Four Stories for Four Seasons.

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What's the story?

Frog usually sleeps through winter and the Christmas holidays, but feels he is missing out. One year, he decides to try to stay awake and celebrate in fashion, and he works hard making lists, planning dinner, writing cards, and thinking how to decorate. In fact, he exhausts himself before he even completes the preparations, and almost misses out all together. At the last minute his friends come to his rescue.

Is it any good?

This is a happy little story that kids will love. First of all, it is about four animal friends (a frog, cat, dog, and pig), the fun of Christmas, and, of course, Santa Claus. The text is a simple, straightforward narrative sprinkled with dialogue, and at times repetitive in the way kids like for read-alouds. The illustrations are expressive, humorous, and gentle -- full of fun themselves and painted in colors that are red and bright, yet not glossy. Any fan of Tomie de Paola will recognize the undeniable quality of his work, and this book is no exception. 

Tomie dePaola's artwork is distinctively simple and kid-friendly. Strong lines outline clever drawings, the animal characters have sweet friendly faces, and each illustration shows just enough  to move the story along. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about hiberation. Why had the frog always missed Christmas? Do you think it would be better for him to hibernate, or to share Christmas with his friends?

  • What did the frog need to do to get ready for Christmas? Why did he get so tired? What kinds of things do you do during the winter holidays? What makes your holiday fun?

  • What did the dog, pig, and cat do to help their friend the frog celebrate? What friends would you like to share Christmas with? What would you do?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays and friendship tales

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