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December Paperback – October 1, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4. A story singular in its originality; its artwork; and its contemporary, multilayered theme that is ultimately filled with joy and peace despite its stark setting. On Christmas Eve, a homeless boy and his mother share their small cardboard-box home with an elderly stranger. The next morning, she is gone. And outside, the child thinks?but cannot believe?he sees an angel like the one on his December calendar page. The story ends a year later, when his situation has changed. His mother has a job and they have moved to a small apartment. It is then he observes that his calendar angel wears a rose just like the one the stranger had put on his Christmas tree. The message of charity as a risk worth taking in a dangerous world is a sobering, thoughtful holiday message. So deft in her writing, Bunting creates a mood or expresses an emotion with a simple sentence or phrase. Diaz's now-familiar angular, almost stained-glass figures dominate illustrations that are set against backgrounds so striking in their creativity and complexity that they would overwhelm a lesser story. The artist uses a mix of media and repetitive patterns to create unusual designs that give each backdrop a multidimensional look. One of a very few holiday books that has both art and writing so strong that they effectively mesh to create a truly unique title.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An understated holiday story with dazzling art, by the duo behind Smoky Night (1994) and Going Home (1996). Simon and his mom live in a cardboard box, but they have a scrap of a Christmas tree, some found decorations including Simon's toy soldier, and an angel on the wall, named December, torn from an old calendar. On Christmas Eve, an old woman begs them to share their box, and they let her in, where Simon offers her one of the two cookies he is saving for Christmas day. In the morning, the old woman is gone, and the angel herself, singing softly, seems to fill the doorway before fading away. The next Christmas Eve finds Simon and his mother in a real apartment. She has found a job, and the December angel is on their new wall. Diaz's acrylic, watercolor, and gouache paintings have the monumentality and intensity of stained glass, with their flat planes of color and black outlines. The agitation of some of his work has been subsumed into a gentler and more emotionally resonant style, set against collage backgrounds full of roses and angels. The angel, with the wings of the feathered cloak of a Mesoamerican goddess, is a glorious creation. Seen in almost every spread in a glowing palette of rose and gold, she draws the eye and the heart again and again. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Sandpiper; 1 edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152024220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152024222
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Raymond Stimson Jr. on September 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
December is a remarkable book -- it manages to connect homelessness to the realm of miracles and the mystery of Christmas. As a reading teacher, I've had the pleasure of meeting Eve Bunting and sharing her stories with hundreds of children. The younger set don't always understand the implications of the old lady who visits on Christmas Eve, but they are deeply touched by the generosity of a mother and child who are willing to share a cookie, a precious coat and the box over their head. The story has something of the aura of O'Henry's Gift of the Magi. December is a pleasure to read and a treasure to share.
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Format: Hardcover
This truly is a great book to read to children during the holidays! I found it to be a great way to share the message of giving with kids. Lots of message in a small, wonderfully beautiful book.
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Format: Hardcover
The story is to the point and sends subte messages - no preaching about the Season of Giving here. Diaz' art helps to convey the realities of living on the street without being too harsh, and his artwork of the angel is incredible. I'd say this is a must-read for parents, children, and angel lovers alike.
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Format: Hardcover
Eve Bunting has teamed up again with David Diaz (illustrator) to create what will surely become a holiday classic. Is the feeble old lady who visits the mother and her son who live in a cardboard box really an angel? This story conveys, in an understated yet very accessible manner, the importance of finding spiritual meaning in the most humble of human experiences. This is a wonderful message of hope and the importance of recognizing, and extending ourselves to, those in need.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by one of my second grade students. When I read it aloud to my class, every student was highly engaged and had many comments and questions. This book provided several days of close reading and comprehension instruction during the Christmas season when it is very hard to keep my class engaged. I was even able to use this story to encourage opinion letter writing. I highly recommend this story to all elementary and possibly even middle school teachers.
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By A Customer on October 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My son was given this book from a good friend last Christmas because she is a huge fan of illustrator David Diaz. Not only are the illustrations illuminating, but the powerful message of this book really makes you think. My 6 year-old son asks me to read it to him over and over (even times other than Christmas!).
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By A Customer on October 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
I had to read it twice to have the story really sink in. This book is very moving and quiet. A really great job from Eve Bunting and a book to be remembered.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an awesome read aloud. Kids love it and it sparks some wonderful conversations about giving and caring. I also used it for many years in public schools. No one religious belief is highlighted, but rather the moral imperatives are featured.
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