The Gold-Threaded Dress) brief, affecting novel offers anything but the standard holiday story of a beautifully decorated tree and a sumptuous dinn"/>

MAMA HAD TO WORK ON CHRISTMAS

Carolyn Marsden, Author, Robert Casilla, Illustrator , illus. by Robert Casilla. Viking $14.99 (73p) ISBN 978-0-670-03635-6

Marsden's (The Gold-Threaded Dress) brief, affecting novel offers anything but the standard holiday story of a beautifully decorated tree and a sumptuous dinner. These trimmings are here, but are enjoyed only by the guests of the posh hotel to which nine-year-old Gloria accompanies her mother to work on Christmas Day. Her migrant worker father cannot be home for the holiday and after her mother's shift, she and Gloria cross the border into Mexico to have dinner with her grandmother at her tiny house made from scraps of wood. While her mother cleans and attends the ladies' room, Gloria helps out in the kitchen and, delivering a bowl to the buffet table, encounters an expensively dressed girl who hands Gloria her stuffed animal; her grandmother has told her she should "give to the have-nots." Marsden effectively portrays Gloria's resentment of what she does not have and subsequent appreciation for her loving family and all that she does have. Her tale will be an eye-opener for many youngsters. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 7-11. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/22/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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