cover image Littlejim's Gift

Littlejim's Gift

Gloria Houston. Philomel Books, $16.99 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22696-0

A native of the Appalachians, Houston (The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree) obviously writes from the heart. Though injured while trying to prove to his exacting father that he is a ``man,'' Littlejim practices reciting Bible verses for the school competition; if he wins, he will be able to take part in the Christmas celebration at the church, which his father otherwise refuses to let the family attend. The boy manages to win the contest, purchase the doll that his younger sister longs for, and soften his father's stony demeanor in this unabashedly sentimental-but affecting-tale. Hazy, sepia-toned illustrations contribute to the story's nostalgic aura. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)