The Bottom Line: Where were these books when I was a kid?
I work at Barnes and Noble, sometimes I waltz in to find Im placed in the childrens section which, more often than not, delights me. Yes, even when theres a squalling baby in the background. Hey, their kids are in a bookstore, not Baby Gap. That baby can squall all it wants.
However, when Im there and theres no one to help, I get unbelievably curious about some of the kids books on the shelves. I want to flippin read everything for the simple fact that it looks like so much fun. So one day, when no one was around, I picked up Winters Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan and read it.
An old man remembers times when Christmas was a cheery affair. He was living comfortably with his wife and always believed that hope was possible. However, now his wife has passed and he faces Christmas alone. He has almost lost hope completely when he hears a faint horse whinny. Its a mare who has been separated from her herd, so he leads her into his barn where he falls asleep and she rests. When he awakens Christmas morning, he finds a small surprise next to the mare, looking at him. Ill let you guess what that surprise is.
This book is so cute and heartwarming it made me say, Awww! right there in the store (and then I looked around to make sure no one thought I was weird). The pictures in the book are very soft and beautiful; they convey the Christmas feeling very well, of snow and trees with gentle colors and a very cozy touch. The story, while the lesson of lost and regained hope isnt foreign to us, this is by no means a dull or even preachy book. Its simple but strong any child reading this would see the little catches.
I dont have kids, but if I did I would certainly read and show this book to my child. It is a little sad when you read about the man losing his wife, in fact, at first that sort of took me by surprise because Ive never come across death, even in small doses, in a childs picture book. At least, not that I can remember. But it is a part of life, so theres nothing wrong with it, and in the end, you get a really good everything is all right feeling. Its a very pleasant happily ever after finish that you can enjoy, as can your child.
Wonderful book for children and adults alike. Something to look for during the holidays.