Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Prairie Christmas

Prairie Christmas

Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Illustrator:  Ronald Himler 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Eerdmans, 2006   ISBN: 978-0802852809

In the early hours of Christmas Day Emma hears someone knocking on the door. A lady somewhere is having her baby and Emma’s Mama, who is a doctor, is needed to help. Though Emma knows it cannot be helped, she cannot help wishing that they had been not called out now, on this day which should be theirs to spend as they wish.

Still, babies will come on all days and at all times and there is nothing to do but to get dressed and drive over to the patient’s house in the buggy. In an hour they are at Mr. Van Der Meer’s house and soon Emma is sitting and waiting, regretting the loss of her special day. Then she meets the two Van Der Meer children and in an effort to take their minds off what is going on in the bedroom, Emma does her best to entertain them and to give them a little bit of Christmas cheer.

Soon neighbors begin to arrive, bringing gifts for the baby and cookies to eat. They too settled down to wait for the baby to arrive.

In this warm and gentle tale the story of an 1800’s prairie doctor and her daughter is told in a uncomplicated narrative style. Pencil and watercolor illustrations capture the simplicity of the homes on the prairie and the anxiety that everyone feels as they await the new arrival. Emma discovers that sometimes one can ease ones own feelings of loss and concern by helping others.