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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas House by Carol Bullman


TITLE: The Christmas House
AUTHOR: Carol Bullman
PUBLISHER: Ideals Publications
DATE OF PUBLICATION: October 1, 2008
FORMAT: Hardcover, 32 pages
GENRE: Children's Picture Books, Christmas
ISBN: 978-0824955984

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS:

 As the music pours into the night, each passing neighbor is drawn to the house from which it comes. A knock on the door reveals the happy couple with their newborn baby enjoying the true spirit of Christmas-without the need for presents stacked under a tree. Beautifully illustrated, this charming story is sure to be a new classic. ""Laughter filled the house. George nodded at the dog, cradled the baby in his arms, and led the others to the piano. The guests gathered around, letting the music hold them. Soon the sounds of all their voices were riding out the window on the soft night air, spreading the joy of Christmas.

MY REVIEW:

I read this book aloud to my children.

A young couple with a newborn has moved into a new neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the neighbours have not been the welcoming sort. Kathleen and George do not have much: The house is in need of repair and the furniture of sparse. However, the small family has an abundance of LOVE!

One evening, Kathleen is entertaining her husband, George, and the baby with some Christmas carols on the piano. The living room has become so warm with the heat from the crackling fire that they open the window just a bit to let in some of the crisp night-time air.

One by one, the neighbours are drawn to the sweet sounds from the little house which are evoking strong memories in each of them. Mrs. Links, her arms laden with presents, remembers the sound of her mother's voice as she sang carols while baking cookies. Elderly Mr. Jacobs, walking his dog, Baxter, recalls searching for the perfect Christmas tree with his grandfather. Young Anna was about to set-up a "Hot Cocoa" stand when the piano tunes stirred memories of her late-grandmother. Even teenaged skateboarder, Thad, cannot help but smile as he remembers jumping up and down on his brother's bed on Christmas morning to wake him up so that they could rush to discover the treats that Santa brought. Enthralled, the group stood silently outside the house, each lost in their own memories when they heard the cooing of a baby! Excitedly, they traipsed up the steps to knock on the door.

"Standing before him were the neighbors who had done little to make his family feel welcome. Maybe it was the earnest look in their eyes or the nervous shuffling of their feet that persuaded him to invite them in. Or, maybe, the music had opened his heart, letting the hurt out and the people who caused it in."

Wow! I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat!! The neighbours entered, with Mrs. Links placing the presents under the empty Christmas tree and Anna passing around hot cocoa to everyone. The baby was enthralled by Baxter, and George relived his youth while he showed Thad some of his "skater" moves. Anna asked Kathleen to play the piano again, while the group surrounded her at the piano.

This book captures the true spirit of Christmas! What a lovely, warm, and touching story!! May we all be reminded during this holiday season to be kind to others.

We borrowed this book from the library, but I'm buying it for my kids because we loved it so much!

MY RATING: 5 stars!! Loved it!!

This book qualifies as:

3 comments:

  1. Hi Darlene!
    I caught this in my Google Reader! I LOVE Google Reader AND Google +!! I am catching SO many MORE things than what I used to by subscribing via GFC OR via email!! I have you in my Circles, too!
    I can just picture you and your children reading this book together! Such a nice review! I see you sitting there reading it, and the kids quiet as mice listening to you! How "I" miss those days!! It's SO nice to read a review like yours that brings back memories of when I used to read to my kids when they were little!
    TREASURE these moments and remember them forever!!!! Time moves TOO quickly!
    You strike me as having a HUGE heart!! I am glad you are taking the opportunity to read to your children and YOU are enjoying just as much as they are!! These are SUCH SPECIAL TIMES!!! Time you will remember forever! My kids are now 18 and 14!! WHERE did the time go??? JUST YESTERDAY I was doing what you are now!! Enjoy EVERY second of it!!
    On those nights where you are completely exhausted, STILL read to them!! That is the BEST advice I can give to you! They grow up SO fast! Literally in the blink of an eye!
    Keep enjoying what you are doing, and keep giving those children the love you are!
    I am enjoying reading the reviews of the Christmas books you have been choosing!
    Thanks for sharing them with us!!
    Laurie Carlson
    laurieisreading at gmail dot com

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  2. This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. It appears that angels were working through the neighbors.

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  3. @Laurie: I'm so glad that you are enjoying my reviews! I love curling up and reading to my kids. Call me crazy, but I even read to my kids "in utero", LOL! Even when my first child was an infant, I would read books to her every day and she'd just stare at the coloured pages and reach for them. I know that being read to creates so many neural pathways and is important for not just language development. Aside from the benefits, there is nothing better than snuggling with my kids! They do grow too quickly. My oldest is 9 years old, but I still read aloud to her daily and we love this special time together.

    @Raine: I so loved this book! It was truly heartwarming, and I'd recommend it to everyone!

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