The wish book. This amazing year, the nine children in the Cole family have been allowed to sit down with the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogue to choose the gift they would most like to receive for Christmas. This is a rare event, for the Coles are not wealthy. Indeed, "Cole Family Christmas" is the true, tender, and wholly unforgettable tale of a coal miner's family. The story takes place in the small company town of Benham, Kentucky, in a time (1920) and place when coal was king and families made their precarious living mining the dirty and sometimes deadly coal.When one of Mama's few possessions, a treasured purple glass bowl with fluted edges, is accidentally broken by exuberant children rushing in from the outdoors, and an unlikely blizzard prevents Papa from coming home after working extra hours at the coal mine on Christmas Eve, the stage is set for a Christmas morning in which gifts are given and received that no one could have predicted.
Cole Family Christmas is most certainly going to become a treasured holiday read for many families this year. With it’s touching family tale, and beautiful illustrations this book is sure to appeal to the whole family. This is the story of the Cole’s, a large family living in a coal mining town, and of a special Christmas that they will never forget. Mama and Papa Cole are the loving and dedicated parents of 9 lively children. When the kids accidently break one of their parents treasured heirlooms, the siblings are devastated and are determined to make it up to Mama Cole. But their Christmas plans are disrupted when a giant snowstorm comes along on Christmas Eve, leaving Papa Cole stranded in town. However miracles do happen, and unforgettable memories are made during this holiday season for the Cole family.
This gorgeous storybook has so many fine points that I just know it will be impossible to point them all out. Upon first seeing Cole Family Christmas I was really taken by just how attractive the actual book is. The illustrations by Jenniffer Julich are so finely done, the depth of these drawings and the warmth they express are amazing. The texture seems touchable, especially the page borders which were designed to replicate the fabrics which Mama Cole used when sewing the family quilts.
This leads to the next thing I found endearing about this story – it’s a true story! The authors of this book are Hazel Cole Kendle and her granddaughter-in-law, Jennifer Liu Bryan. When the events from this book took place, Hazel was only a toddler; but through the years the story of the Cole Family Christmas of 1920, became a treasured tale to pass on. It’s these familial touches that really infuse feeling into this book, along with some wonderful family photos, and an epilogue telling of Cole family history.
Composed of nine chapters, Cole Family Christmas would be perfect reading for the nights leading up to Christmas. This is a story that really emphasizes the importance of family, and the true enjoyment of giving during the holiday season. As an adult, I enjoyed the historical facts about the hardships involved in living in a coal mining town, and how this family loved and supported one another in order to make the best of things. Younger readers will be sure to feel a connection to the Cole children, as they experience the joys of family and the excitement of the holiday season. The humour is sure to illicit a few giggles too, especially when the children learn just why having Hilda the Goat living inside the house is not such a great idea!
Be sure to check out The Cole Family Christmas website as well, where you can read the first chapter, learn more about the authors, download some Cole Family Christmas themed gift tags and even have some fun with Hilda the Goat, who is the spokesgoat for Readloud.org, an organization that supports the importance of reading aloud to kids.
Published by Next Chapter Press
Another great review of this book can
be found at Peeking Between The Pages
© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.