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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Children who read this may want to follow Liam's path in finding out about the emotions of animals, and there are many books and websites on the subject. The book also offers some details of country life.
The story strongly, but without overt lecturing, conveys a message of giving and caring being the most important parts of the holidays, and of life, and that a true gift is its own reward.
Positive Role Models
Liam and Lily are models both of caring siblings and compassionate people who put others before themselves and inspire caring in those around them, even strangers.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a gentle book with absolutely nothing to be concerned about, and one that carries strong messages of love, caring, giving, and selflessness as the bringers of true joy and contentment, at the holidays or any other time.
Is It Any Good?
Nobody, but nobody, can make the simple joys of family love so breathtakingly clear as Patricia Maclachlan does. How is it that she's never done a Christmas story before? Could there be a more perfect match for the holiday season than her gorgeously simple, lyrical prose, her gentle way of revealing depths of character through dialog, her deep understanding of the human heart?
Not only is there no sex, drugs, violence, swearing, or anything else a parent might be concerned about; there are also, as in Maclachlan's other books, no villains either. She doesn't need them. How is it possible for a story so sweet and gentle to be so engrossing and so deeply moving, yet not for a moment cloying or sappy? She does it, in part, with prose that is drily matter-of-fact and earthy, yet manages at the same time to read like the best poetry ever written for children, with rhythms that carry readers along on currents of feeling. This is a book to read together with a child, curled up on a winter evening in bed or in front of a fireplace, and let those currents carry your child into sleep.
The b&w drawings are gentle and unobtrusive.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.