________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 5 . . . . October 26, 2007


A Star for Christmas.

Trisha Romance.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2007.
40 pp., hardcover, $26.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-836-1.

Subject Heading:
Christmas stories, Canadian (English).

Kindergarten-grade 5 / Ages 5-10.   

Review by Laura E. Ludtke.

**** /4

Reviewed from prepublication copy.


Once upon a time, there was a little house of wood and stone at the edge of a quiet meadow. You might think that it had always been there, but that was not so.

Thus begins the enchanting story of a carpenter, of his friendship with a small reindeer, of faith shared within a community, and, above all, of love. The carpenter, whose attempt to build himself a house is depicted here within the book, has dedicated his life to helping others build their houses and create their homes. Finally, it is time for him to build his own. While the carpenter is alone in the woods, he finds an orphaned reindeer, which he names Little Star, and they become fast friends. Spring turns to summer, summer fades to autumn, and soon all of the villagers whom he has helped in the past come to visit him, bringing food, friendship, and faith.      

The warmth of their company was as warm as their soup. The villagers loved to hear the carpenter’s stories of faith, hope, and love, but when the first snowflakes of the season began to fall, all thoughts and words turned to one thing –– Christmas!

     The carpenter works on his house all the way through winter until just before Christmas. He finds a home for Little Star in the stall he built attached to his own house. When it is finally done, he begins to make little toys for the children in the village and a Christmas surprise to share with his friends. Along with the village children, the carpenter and Little Star set off to find a Christmas tree which soon becomes the centrepiece of warm and beauty in the carpenter’s house.      

In the morning, the carpenter rose early. After a breakfast of warm porridge, he read aloud from his well-worn Bible, just as he had always done. But this day’s passage was special. It told of the night that Jesus was born. Even Kitty seemed to understand as the carpenter read, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

     On Christmas Eve, all of the carpenter’s friends from the village arrive at his house to share the special evening. After dinner, he leads them out into the woods where he shows them the hand carved crèche he has delicately created. He reads to his friends from the Bible about the birth of Jesus in the midst of snow falling. As the villagers head home that night, the carpenter gives them each a gift, knowing in his heart that he has already shared the gift of faith and love.

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     The illustrations are captivating and give off a warm, glowing quality evoking the Christmas spirit. Each picture (and there are so many of them!) is rich with detail; they breathe more life into the already poignant words.

     A Star for Christmas would make a lovely Christmas gift for any child who loves to read and who cherishes the Christmas spirit. As well, it would make a lovely addition to any collection’s seasonal materials. Mentions of the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity should not discourage anyone from reading the book, since they have an especially appropriate presence in such as Christmas story. While topical, these references do not seem forced or overly moralizing.

Highly Recommended.

Laura E. Ludtke, a candidate for an M.A. in Classics at Queen’s University, has always enjoyed reading beautifully illustrated books about Christmas, no matter the time of the year.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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