cover image Children of Christmas: Stories for the Season

Children of Christmas: Stories for the Season

Cynthia Rylant. Orchard Books (NY), $14.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-08306-2

Six Christmas stories by the Newbery Honorwinning author converge to portray the sensitive moods of togetherness, loss, belonging, privation. Garnet Ash has lived alone in an out-of-the-way house ever since his parents died; his solace is growing Christmas trees, and folks ride out to his place once a year. Francis spends part of Christmas Eve with her father in a diner where a stray cat is fed and sheltered. Philip's grandfather comes for the holiday and misses his dead wife; Philip tries to show him ""you've got us.'' Silvia walks the streets of New York, looking for Christmas in the eyes of strangers. Frankie waits yearly for the Christmas train to arrive in the mountains with a special package for him. And Mae, while hungry and sick, tries to find shelter and instead stumbles across a picture of a woman and a baby and stars in the sky. Rylant's Christmas is a sad and lonely one, but her ability to summon the joys of the season through her writing is extraordinary. Schindler's illustrations, appropriately, are both reserved and inciting. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 8-up. (August)