Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Josie’s Gift

Josie’s Gift

Kathleen Bostrom
Illustrator:  Frank Ordaz 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005   ISBN: 978-0805430202

It is going to be a hard Christmas for Josie and her family. Not only is the country gripped by the hardship of the Depression, but now they don’t even have Papa with them to make Christmas a special and happy time. Papa died of the fever in the Spring. Mama does her best to take care of the family and the farm, but there is very little money to spare, and there certainly isn’t enough to be able to buy Josie the blue sweater she saw in the clothes store in town. It is the prettiest sweater she has ever seen, and she wants it so badly, but she knows that there is no way her mother can afford to buy it.

Missing Papa terribly and trying not to think about him too much, Josie does her best not to look too unhappy but it is hard. Even when there is carol singing in church on Christmas Eve, she cannot find that happiness that used to warm her heart at previous Christmas Eve services. Worse still, Josie cannot feel that, as Papa used to say, "Christmas is about what we have." This year, for her at least, it seems to be about what is missing in her life.

Then Josie’s family get some special visitors who help Josie to find, in her heart, the spirit of Christmas once more.

This heartwarming and, at times painful, story captures the essence of what Christmas means to many people all over the world. Soft luminous paintings illustrate a text that reminds readers that there is more to Christmas than gifts, feasts, and decorations.