December

by Eve Bunting and David Diaz

"Mother and I live in a house we made by ourselves. There's black printing on... read more

"Mother and I live in a house we made by ourselves. There's black printing on the walls and floor...Our house is small. There's just room for us and what we have." Simon and his mother have few material possessions and comforts, but they've patched together a creche and hung up a picture of an angel named December. They agree that December sings to them over the traffic noise while they sleep. On Christmas Eve a thoroughly chilled white woman asks if she may come in. They share their single heavy cover and one of three cookies for which Simon had traded soda cans. She gives them a fabric rose from her hat. While the three huddle together to sleep, Simon dreams that December comes to life and visits them. After his dream, things begin to change for this little family. They get an apartment with real walls, and some call it luck. "I don't think so," says Simon. Some readers might say this story is about a miracle. Simon might agree. The first person narrative is unusual, but it's the powerful visual images that bring a compelling edge to the story illustrated with powerful full-color assemblages reminiscent of Smoky Night (Harcourt, 1994) and Going Home (Harcourt, 1996), also written by Bunting and illustrated by Diaz. (Ages 7-9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

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