From Publishers Weekly
Tales both familiar ("The Nutcracker" by E.T.A. Hoffman, "Schnitzle, Schnotzle, and Schnootzle" by Ruth Sawyer) and less so ("The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree" by Hans Christian Andersen) are at home on these elegantly edged pages. Philip's (American Fairy Tales) retellings, though occasionally stiff, glisten with the fantasy and magic associated with the spirit of Christmas. Brent's trademark rich, delicate watercolors accented with touches of gold paint (see Cats Love Christmas Too, above) exude an old-world feel that is perfectly suited to the classic storytelling tradition upheld by this collection. All ages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4^-6, younger for reading aloud. This compilation of 12 stories does not round up the usual suspects. In fact, several of the stories are only tangentially about Christmas, focusing more on, as editor Philip says, "an afterglow of hope for the future . . . the essential Christmas message." Although it's pleasant to have some less familiar tales, this gambit is not entirely successful. Andersen's "The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree," translated for this collection, is hardly cheery, and "The Best That Life Has to Offer" is a very adult tale that doesn't mention Christmas at all. There are also more traditional selections, such as Andersen's "The Fir Tree" and an abbreviated retelling of "The Nutcracker." The book is lovely to look at with Isabelle Brent's handsome watercolors and gilt-edged designs glowing on the page; they may have more child appeal than the stories. For larger collections. Ilene Cooper