Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


This story is sure to draw you and your child in immediately, as you get a glimpse at the empty and hurting heart of a bitter woodcarver, Jonathan Toomey.  We come to find a secret about him that the village townspeople don't know.  Like Scrooge's "bah-humbug", his description of Christmas is cynical:  "pish-posh".

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".

Slowly, after accepting gifts of food brought with each visit by the widow, and getting used to the company of this mother and son, Jonathan Toomey's heart begins to soften and heal.  He begins to teach Thomas how to carve a robin.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Mom, what a great blog! You are simple yet get the emotion of the story across. Thank you for reading this book aloud to me, oh so long ago ;-)