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Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be Hardcover – October 1, 2011

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Harris has written a number of books for children, including, most recently, My Monster Notebook. Of A Giraffe Goes To Paris (co-written with Mary Tavener Holmes), Publishers Weekly said, "This is history for children the way it ought to be written." He lives in California.

Adam Gustavson has illustrated sixteen books for children, including Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt! and Snow Day!. He lives in New Jersey.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561455903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561455904
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,041,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Washington, D.C., John Harris studied at Middlebury College, the University of Virginia, and UC Berkeley. He worked for many years as an editor, first at the Smithsonian and later at the Getty in Los Angeles. His writing has appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic, Harpers, and Esquire, and in such journals as Rattle, Pearl, and Nimrod. He now lives in Savannah, Georgia, with his dachshund, Mavis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's hard to believe Christmas is only a month away when it's sweltering hot in Savannah, Georgia.' James Lord Pierpont struggles to get his mind off the heat and the conflict of his Unitarian church's anti-slavery and focus on the task of writing a song for the annual Christmas concert.

When his daughter asks him what snow is like, Pierpont receives the inspiration he needs to start his song. He wants his congregation to know what it is like to go for a sleigh ride as he did during his childhood in Boston. With the sound of jingling bells on his mind, Pierpont ends up writing the classic, "Jingle Bells."

Author John Harris explains in an imaginative and believable way of how he came up with the fictional account of the writing of "Jingle Bells." The lively illustrations by Adam Gustavson fit well with the upbeat music of the beloved song. I love holiday books that make reading aloud fun. This book does just that. Recommended holiday read for anybody who loves the Christmas classic, "Jingle Bells."

My review appears on my blog at [...] I received this book at no charge from the publisher to facilitate the review. No financial compensation was received and I am always free to express my honest opinion.
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Format: Hardcover
No matter what our religious affiliation, we all know the much-loved holiday song, Jingle Bells, a favorite not only for Christmas albums but also sung at every elementary school sing-along. But how did this famous song get written?

Author John Harris was inspired by a historic marker he saw on a visit to Savannah, Georgia, to do a little investigating as to the history of the classic tune. He saw a marker about the history of the song, written by James Pierpont, music director at the Unitarian Church in Savannah in the 1850's. This story is fictional, but inspired by actual facts. Harris imagines that Pierpont composed the song in the middle of a Savannah heat wave. Pierpont, in Harris' story, is an abolitionist, worried about violence surrounding his church because of their anti-slavery policies. He's homesick, too, for New England, and tries to explain to his young daughter what snow is like, and the sound of sleigh bells. Suddenly, he's inspired to write a new song for the Thanksgiving day concert at church!

llustrator Adam Gustavson's lively images enhance this charming book, a great read-aloud for the holiday season, especially for elementary school classes learning to sing this classic tune!
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By Heidi Grange on December 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book about the author's fictionalized account of the writing of the song of Jingle Bells. The song is well-known and well-loved, but this is the first time I've read about how the song might have come about. The author explains in the notes at the end, the reasons for his fictionalizing the story. Apparently the exact origins of the song are unknown. All that is known for sure is that James L. Pierpont was the writer. I liked the idea presented in this book, that the song was written for members of the Unitarian Church who had never experienced snow. The 'recreation' of snow at the end was a fun touch, although the first thing I thought when I saw that picture was, "That's going to take forever to clean up!" Children won't think twice about that however.

The gorgeous illustrations compliment the text nicely. The size of the illustrations and text make the book a good one for sharing.
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