31 December 2018

Books Completed Since December 1

book icon  Re-Read: Christmas After All, Kathryn Lasky

book icon  Re-read: Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special, Darrell Van Citters

book icon  Re-read: Christmas in America, Penne Restad
book icon  Re-read: The Battle for Christmas, Stephen Nissenbaum

book icon  Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Wonder of Christmas, edited by Amy Newmark

book icon  The Christmas Book, Francis X. Weiser

book icon  The Ghost of Christmas Past, Rhys Bowen

book icon  Top Elf, Caleb Zane Huett

book icon  Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, adapted by Frances Frost

book icon  Re-read: Sleigh Bells for Windy Foot, Frances Frost

book icon  Re-read: The Victorian Christmas Book, Antony and Peter Miall

book icon  Santa Claus: A Biography, Gerry Bowler

book icon  Christmas Ideals 2018, from Worthy Publications

book icon  Christmas in Greece, from World Book

book icon  Christmas in Finland, from World Book

book icon  Merry Christmas!, Karal Ann Marling

book icon  The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, Karina Yan Glaser
In the tradition of The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright and the Penderwick books by Jeanne Birdsall is this tale of a family living in Harlem. There are scientific Jessie and her musician sister Isa, twelve; nine-year-old Oliver, bookworm and basketball fanatic; Hyacinth, age six, who loves yarn and fabric, and four (and three quarters) Laney, who loves to hug and adores her bunny Paganini (there's also a basset, Franz, and the cat, George Washington), plus their mom, a baker, and their dad, a computer expert who also operates as the super for the brownstone they live in at 141st Street. Right before Christmas, their crabby landlord, Mr. Beiderman, says he won't renew their lease at the end of the month and they have to move immediately. The kids love their neighborhood and their home and don't want to move, and work up some plots to warm up "the Beiderman" so they won't be evicted, while their parents scramble to pack and find a new place to live. Plus they're getting ready for Christmas and things are afoot among their close-knit neighbors.

While set at Christmas, this isn't particularly a Christmas book as it is the both funny and at times sad story of a lively family of imaginative kids, their friends and neighbors, and their earnest but sometimes offbeat efforts to get the landlord to like them (which, of course, go all wrong). Sometimes the story seems a bit old-fashioned (the kids call their parents "Mama" and "Papa") and some reviewers have expressed disbelief that they are so friendly with everyone in their neighborhood (I assure you, this type of thing did used to exist and no reason exists why it still shouldn't take place), but altogether it's full of fun and warmth.

book icon  Re-read: The Cottage Holiday, Jo Mendel