cover image Efan the Great

Efan the Great

Roni Schotter. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $12.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-688-04986-7

Indomitable Efan Little wakes up on the morning before Christmas. He plans to take his life savings of $6.63 and bring Christmas to his home on 128th Street, part of a poor black neighborhood. Then Efan finds that he can't afford a tree, which was to have been his present to his family. Jimmy, who's selling the trees, offers Efan a job; payment will be his pick of any tree still unsold at the end of the night. To Efan's disappointment, the only trees left are too big to fit through the door of his home. He reluctantly drags home an enormous tree anyway, and then inspiration hits; Efan leaves the tree, decorated with broken glass and metal, on a part of the street where everyone can see it. By mornng, snow has fallen, and all Efan's neighbors have pitched in to keep the spirit of Christmas alive on 128th Street. Schotter's heartwarming story is jubilantly told, and Pate's full-color pictures of Christmas in an urban setting are realistic and filled with joy. (7-10)