cover image Happy Christmas, Gemma

Happy Christmas, Gemma

Sarah Hayes. HarperCollins, $16 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-688-06508-9

An older brother narrates the story of his family's preparations for Christmas with a dryness that is at once both childlike and extremely humorous. Everything he does, his baby sister undoes with innocent dedication: ""We made the Christmas pudding. I stirred the mixture and made a wish. Gemma threw the spoon on the floor.'' ``We decorated the tree. I was big enough to put the angel on the top. Gemma pulled off a star.'' On Christmas day, after phone calls to relatives in Jamaica and a big dinner, Gemma wanders off. Her brother finds her, eating icing off Grandma's Christmas cake. The joy on the ebony faces of Gemma's family as they share her first Christmasand big brother's delight in his cuddly siblingbrings sweetness to this story, along with the matter-of-fact tone of the text. It's not only a happy Christmas, but a happy collaboration of author and illustrator. (2-6)