Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Tony Johnston
Illustrator:  Cheng-Khee Chee 
Picture Book
For ages 7 and up
Lerner, 2007   ISBN: 978-1575057521

It is Christmas Eve and in the town, far away, the bell is ringing in the "icicle-pointed steeple." It is calling people to come and celebrate. "Noel. Noel. Noel!" it seems to say. And the people come bundled up against the cold. Men, women, and children brave the cold and the snow to listen to the bells and to heed the call to come together on this special day. Even the animals seem to stop what they are doing to listen.

A sleigh "stuffed as a stocking/full of people" goes by, and in the town itself a glorious Christmas tree glows with lights and ornaments. And as they come into the town the people gather together under the lights and near the band with its blaring trumpets and horns. They catch the falling snow on their clothes, "they smile" at one another, and they begin to dance and sing.

With its lyrical poetry and its magical watercolor artwork, this beautiful book is a real gem. It paints a portrait of one very special evening and holds that evening for all time so that we might savor it. Gorgeous washed colors give the scenes a completely enchanted look which readers will find themselves wanting to look at again and again.

At the back of the book the artist describes how he created his lovely paintings.