From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2–When Charlotte and her parents move “across the ocean” to France, she finds it hard to adjust to life in a small village, especially when Colette teases her about her bad French. At Christmastime, Charlotte is jealous of all the village activities–her family is Jewish and is lighting a menorah for Chanukah–so when she learns that Colette is very poor, she convinces her parents to give Colette's family a tree and other Christmas trappings, thus spreading and sharing the joy of the season. This quiet and charming slice of life, which assumes a basic knowledge of both holidays, shares enough details (chocolate on a baguette as a school snack) to give readers a flavor of Charlotte's new life. The attractive, realistic paintings depict a timeless French village–this story might take place now or several decades ago. A fine cross-cultural choice for larger collections.Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
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Based on a true incident, this historical picture book is about Charlotte, who has moved to a small town in France. Charlotte feels left out, especially at Christmastime, not only because she’s American but also because she’s Jewish. At least Charlotte can participate in the school holiday activities, but during the grab-bag pull, she realizes that classmate Colette Levert is too poor to purchase a present for the exchange. This gives Charlotte an idea. Perhaps she can bring Christmas to Colette’s family. On Christmas Eve, Charlotte’s family carries a Christmas tree, decorations, food, and gifts to the Leverts. In return, the Leverts ask Charlotte’s family to stay and share their holiday feast and “the joy of Christmas and Chanukah.” Although the art is problematic—Charlotte appears to be different ages throughout—it does capture both the holiday spirit and the feeling of a French village. Good to have on hand at holiday time. Grades 1-3. --Ilene Cooper