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Parents' Guide to

What Child Is This? A Christmas Story

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Foster child wishes for a family for Christmas.

What Child Is This? A Christmas Story Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Yes, this is a string of clichés: loving orphan needing a family, callous rich people, near death in the snow, warm hearts, happy endings, a few good sobs along the way. But when it's stylishly and lyrically done by a veteran YA novelist, and it's December, that most uncynical of months -- well, what more could anyone want? This is what happens when a cliché is put into the hands of a master.

Before the waterworks start in the last quarter of the book, take time to savor Caroline Cooney's beautiful writing, the way she allows the reader to climb inside the heads of the major characters, and the chapter titles, each a line from a different carol that relates to the story. Come January you may feel sheepish about having sobbed over this one, but during the holidays it touches the heart in the most satisfying way -- so powerfully, in fact, that it may get the whole family out of the house on a quest to help others.

Book Details

  • Author: Caroline B. Cooney
  • Genre: Holiday
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • Publication date: December 19, 2005
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 14
  • Number of pages: 150
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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