cover image With Love at Christmas

With Love at Christmas

Mem Fox. Abingdon Press, $12.95 (29pp) ISBN 978-0-687-45863-9

The elderly Mrs. Cavallaro always shops early for the presents for her family, lovingly wrapping each one, writing ``With love, at Christmas'' on each tag and tucking them into a special trunk. But this year, Mrs. Cavallaro keeps hearing about families with no presents and children without food; she gives away the presents before she knows what she is doing. She weeps when she realizes that she has no gifts for her loved ones. But the night before Christmas, she goes to her trunk, and it is no longer emptya holy baby on a bed of straw is lying there. The next morning, her family finds the presents in the trunk, with Mrs. Cavallaro slumped dead over them. By the author of the acclaimed Possum Magic , this story is a failed attempt to choreograph a modern-day miracle. The ending is shocking, and the paintings, while carefully executed, do not convey the pathos of the story. All ages. (Oct.)