Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Christmas Spider's Miracle

A Christmas Spider's Miracle

Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrator:  Stephen Costanza 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Sleeping Bear Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-1585366026

It is the night before Christmas, and in the forest, in a little fir tree, there is a mother spider who is doing what she can to protect her children from the bitter cold. Carefully she spins “warm little pockets for each tiny spider” and she tucks them in. With her eight legs wrapped around her children, she falls asleep.

Not far away a peasant mother is wishing she had the means to buy gifts and sweet treats for her children. They are going to have a very lean Christmas, but there is nothing that she can do about it. The peasant woman works very hard mending and darning other people’s clothes, and the little money she gets is barely enough to feed her two daughters and son. Wanting to bring a little cheer into their cottage, she goes into the forest while her children are asleep and there she finds a little fir tree, which she brings home. The peasant woman tries to make some ornaments to decorate the tree, but she does not have the right supplies, and she falls asleep “overwhelmed with sadness.” Little does she know that the little fir tree that she brought home contains a special Christmas surprise.

In this delightful holiday picture book, children will read a fresh and heartwarming version of an old Ukrainian folk tale. Young readers will see how Christmas is not just a time to give gifts and eat big meals. It is also a time when we should appreciate what we have, and offer compassion and kindness to those around us.