cover image The Christmas House

The Christmas House

Ann Warren Turner. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023429-4

In a series of tender, free-verse poems, a house and its inhabitants are each given voice to express their thoughts about the holiday. The house itself talks about the curious children on Christmas morning: ``My stairs know their quiet steps/ before dawn.'' The cat laments the loud bustle of visitors, while parents, grandparents and other family members all focus on what Christmas means (e.g., ``This is the always house of the forever childhood and I am happy to be here''). Calder's sure-handed paintings fittingly depict an impressive range of perspectives, in keeping with the varied narrators. Soft light from candles, the moon, the Christmas tree and fireplace bring additional depth to a delicate palette and well-appointed details. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)