Review: The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas by Madeline L’Engle

November 26, 2013 2013, A, book rating, reviews 0

I haven’t had time to complete my Top Ten Tuesday Things I’m Thankful for. I’m just going to list a few things I’m especially thankful for:

First, and foremost, my family–I’m very blessed to have a wonderful husband and children as well as wonderful extended family. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, but they are loving and giving.

Reading–I love to read and am aware how lucky I am to live in a place girls are educated. And to have had a mother who loved to read and read to me when I was a child.

Books–I’m grateful so many wonderful books are available…and to live in a place where the books are available to me–that I can afford to buy books and have libraries to borrow books.

Blogging friends–I’ve met so many wonderful friends on-line. It’s wonderful to have friends who read many of the same kinds of books I read.

So to all my blogging friends and family…Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah and if you don’t celebrate either of those things I still wish you a wonderful and happy week!

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The Twenthe-twenty-four-days-before-christmasty-four Days Before Christmas
by Madeline L’Engle
Series: Austin Family #3
Genre: Children’s Christmas story
Published by Shaw, 1964
e-book, purchased
48 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: Vicky Austin’s family does one special thing each day of December to prepare for Christmas. This year, they’re also preparing for the birth of a new brother or sister, due after the New Year. Vicky is worried that the baby will come early—what kind of Christmas Eve would it be without Mother to help them hang up stockings and sing everyone to sleep with carols?

This classic story of an old-fashioned Christmas is accompanied by merry illustrations by Jill Weber.

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On the eighth day of December I was late getting home because the rehearsal of the Pageant lasted much longer than usual. And it lasted longer because the director couldn’t get me in a position that satisfied her. The most awful moment was when I heard her whisper to the assistant director, ‘I’ve never seen a seven-year old be so awkward or ungraceful, but I suppose we really can’t recast the angel now.’

What I like about this book:

  • This is a sweet and charming children’s Christmas story.
  • The story hearkens to a simpler time: as children we are excited and thrilled about Christmas–hoping for snow, preparing for a Christmas pageant, loving the comfort of our Christmas traditions.
  • The family all help Vicky become less awkward so she can be a perfect angel in the Christmas pageant.
  • I love the way the family does something special each day each day in December before Christmas–an Advent calendar the first day, Christmas cookies another day, a Christmas mobile another day.
  • Vicky is excited her mother is having a baby, but also worried her mother will have the baby right before Christmas and won’t be able to see her in the Christmas pageant or be home for Christmas. Though the story is of an idealized family they still have worries as well as Christmas excitement. Helps me remember the things I worried about as a young child!

What I don’t like:

  • The Kindle book costs over $8.00 right now (I don’t know about other prices) which I think is a lot of money for a short story. I bought it several years ago for my Kindle for about $3.00 which I think is about right!

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My thoughts: 

This eBook edition apparently includes additional content not available in the print edition–Christmas in New York essay by Madeleine L’Engle, reproductions of L’Engle family Christmas cards created and illustrated by Madeleine L’Engle and the first chapter of the Newbery Award–winning A Wrinkle in Time.

This story would be a fun story to read to young children and also to do some of the things they did each day before Christmas. I love Christmas and need to remember to enjoy the anticipation and joy of Christmas. Too often I seem to get caught up in the frenzy of buying gifts or thinking I have to have a “perfect” Christmas when it’s really a time to step back, slow down and realize there is no one perfect way to celebrate.

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

No Responses to “Review: The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas by Madeline L’Engle”

    • Jan

      Thanks, Kimba! I don’t know why the price is so high for this book. It’s really too bad.

  1. Lark

    I’d love to read this, and your review is wonderful, but I think I’ll see if the library has it. You’re right, $8 is high for a short story, and since I don’t have a tablet and my e-ink reader is pretty old, the cards and so forth wouldn’t look very good.

    Happy, happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy that big family gathering!

    • Jan

      Thanks, Lark! I hope the library will have the book. And I agree…if you don’t have a tablet the cards aren’t going to look so great. Happy Thanksgiving to you!