cover image Diane Goode's American Christmas

Diane Goode's American Christmas

Diane Goode. Dutton Books, $14.95 (8pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44620-0

This cheerful collection of Christmas melodies, poems and stories eschews the Victoriana frequently associated with the season in favor of American customs and traditions. From Laura Ingalls Wilder's chapter on her first Christmas tree to Langston Hughes's ``Carol of the Brown King,'' Goode's focus is on ``the distinct expression'' Americans have given to the holiday, and her festive illustrations span various historical periods. In addition to traditional favorites (``Jingle Bells'' and Clement Moore's famous poem), there are many happy surprises, such as ``Brer Rabbit's Christmas'' and a folktale from upstate New York about the origins of ``A Baker's Dozen.'' The book's design is uncluttered and spacious, and Goode ( The Diane Goode Book of American Folk Tales and Songs ) differentiates the entries by wrapping each one--her special ``gifts''--in a unique ribbon-like border. All ages. (Sept.)