One December, the gruff woodcarver is visited by a widow, new to the town, and her young son, Thomas. They ask him to carve a set of Christmas figures to replace their original Nativity creche that has gotten lost.
The widow and her son begin to visit Jonathan Toomey's cottage, so that Thomas can watch the wood carver at his craft. As his mother looks on in quiet alarm, the young boy whispers quiet observations such as, "Mr. Toomey, excuse me, but you're carving my sheep wrong", noting that his original sheep had "looked happy...they knew they were with the baby Jesus, so they were happy".
I won't spoil the ending, but you're sure to shed some tears as you read how Jonathan Toomey finally faces his past and finishes the figures of the Nativity scene. This is a beautifully told and illustrated tale. The pictures by P.J. Lynch, in shadow from sunlight and firelight, focus on the emotions shown in the faces and actions of the characters.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (ages 5 to adult) by Susan Wojciechowski is one of our family's favorites and is a touching read aloud.