Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Pioneer Christmas: Celebrating in the Backwoods in 1841

A Pioneer Christmas: Celebrating in the Backwoods in 1841

Barbara Greenwood
Illustrator:  Heather Collins 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Kids Can Press, 2003   ISBN: 978-1550749557

Christmas is coming and Sarah and her large family are making preparations for the special day. Most off all everyone is looking forward to the arrival of Cousin Andrew and his wife Sophie. The Robertson family have not seen a family member in a long time so this is a very special treat for them. There is worry though for Andrew’s family has not been heard from. The Robertson’s cannot help being concerned and hoping that their guests will arrive safe and sound in time for Christmas.

The preparations and activities that lead up to Christmas in their small backwoods community go on. There are pomanders to make, a pudding to stir and steam, garlands to create, choir practice to attend and much more. It is a wonderful time full of excitement and expectation.

The author of this sweet story not only tells us about the Robertson’s Christmas, but she also gives us an enormous amount of background information about the celebration of Christmas over the years. We learn that it was the Germans who introduced the Christmas tree into the festivities of the season, and the words of a poem which combined the stories of St. Nicolas and Sinter Klaas to create the Santa Claus that we all know and love. It is interesting to discover what the roots of our Christmas are. In addition the author has added some activities to her story which allow children today to appreciate how families in the 1800’s enjoyed their Christmas.