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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Christmas Boot, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin. 2016. $23.99 ages 4 and up

And since her feet were fully freezing, and since it looked to be such a nice boot, she slipped her rag-wrapped left foot deep within it. "Ahhh," Hannah said,. "That does feel nice." It surely must have, for when she slid her tiny foot into the very large boot, it suddenly took on the shape and size of Hannah's own foot. The boot fit perfectly."

Hannah Greyweather spends every day working hard to gather what she needs to keep her warm during a long and cold winter. Christmas Day is the same as every other day for her. She has no mittens, no boots - until she finds a boot in the snow.

That boot begins the magic. When she puts it on, it changes size to fit her foot perfectly. It keeps her one foot warm. Imagine her surprise when she makes a bedtime wish for another, only to find her wish has been granted when she awakens in the morning. Gathering wood with two warm boots and a joyous heart is enough to encourage making a snow angel. Next day, it's mittens.

"If the boot is magic," Hannah says to the mittens, "will it give me more?
Will it give me a fluffy feather bed? A fabulous feast? A big fancy house?
The mittens stayed mute.
"I suppose that is too much to ask," said Hannah. "I best get about my chores."

Another surprise? She returns home to exactly what had hoped for. A knock at the door brings a stranger.(Children will recognize him, Hannah does not.) He needs his lost boot. Hannah quickly invites him inside for a bit of food, and a lot of conversation. She returns his boot, and her circumstances quickly change. Needing little, her only wish is granted ... and then some! A gentle reminder, in a time of abundance, that what we need is so much more important than what we want.

A dramatic and descriptive story well-told, with stellar artwork by the incomparable Jerry Pinkney, it is a welcome addition to my stash of Christmas favorites. I can't wait to share it with family in a few days.

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