cover image The Shine Man: A Christmas Story

The Shine Man: A Christmas Story

Mary Quattlebaum. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8028-5181-9

In the first of several Depression-era tales, a penniless shoeshine man fashions an angel doll, a ""spoolie,"" out of spools, yarn and cloth. When an urchin shows up, the ""Shine Man"" first gives the boy his threadbare cap, then his sock-gloves and, finally, the spoolie. In Quattlebaum's (Underground Train) lyrical, mystical tale, the man's generosity is unexpectedly rewarded when the boy reveals his identity (""the Heavenly Child"") and spirits the man away. Ladwig (What Does the Sky Say?) effectively evokes the setting through the use of perspective and reflected light in his watercolor and acrylic illustrations. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)