Seasonal books appear from the various publishers. Many are repeats of the Nativity story each with some original twist or new character. And, yes, they are important to share with young readers to illustrate the true meaning of this holiday.
A new book goes way beyond the familiar and takes youngsters back to grandparents’ farm. THE TRUE GIFT: A CHRISTMAS STORY by Patricia MacLachlan , illustrated by Brian Floca (Atheneum, 2009, $12.99) opens with Liam and Lily arriving at their grandparents for an annual holiday visit. Liam has brought his red sock with grey trim full of money to buy presents for everyone. Both children enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the small town where their grandparents live.
Since their last visit all the farm stock have been sold off. In the barnyard stands a lone white cow. The children are told the cow simply arrived one day and has been staying there at the farm. Both children are concerned the lone white cow must be lonely. There are no other animals on the farm at this time.
Things begin to happen when this notice appears on the bulletin board at the post office. WANTED: A cow friend for a lonely sad cow. It is Christmas and she needs a friend. Think how you’d feel. I’m buying, call Liam. (Gran and Grandpa’s phone number is at the bottom.)
Well, this is the season of wonders and strange happenings. A delightful honest simple story capturing the real meaning of this holiday especially as it relates to two youngsters imbued with holiday love. One to cherish after the buying rush.