Synopses & Reviews
Beloved author-illustrator Patricia Polaccos holiday story is a wonderful ode to the magic of family, Christmas, and giving the right kind of giftsgifts filled with love.
Richie and Trisha want to buy Christmas gifts for their family, but they don't have enough money. Enter Kay Lamity, a new housekeeper . . . but is that all she is? She comes into their lives like a whirlwind, brimming with positive energy and a can-do attitude. Kay not only straightens them out when it comes to whether or not Santa Claus is real, she teaches them something about gifts: the just-good-enough kind that come from the pocketbook and the unforgettable kind that come from the heart. Because of Kay, Trisha and Richieand the familyhave a Christmas morning they will never forget.
Celebrating the joy of homemade gifts, Patricia Polacco introduces readers to a new character who is truly a force of nature in this story reminiscent of Christmas Tapestry and An Orange for Frankie. This is a magical Christmas story the author swears is true, right down to the sleigh tracks on the farmhouse roof!
"Holiday treats abound in a colorful and touching story of generosity and the ties that bind, based on a story of the author's great-uncle. Young Frankie, along with his eight siblings and Ma, awaits Pa's return home from a trip to get the precious Christmas oranges he buys each year. But blizzard-like weather slows Pa's travels. In the meantime, the family fills the days baking, decorating and fixing a hearty feast for the hobos aboard the train that stops near their property. Pa makes it home in time and the oranges play an especially important role in the clan's celebration. A subplot about Frankie's selflessness adds depth. Several pencil-and-watercolor scenes of the black freight train in a wintry rural landscape as well as close-up portraits of the gathered family and the haunted looking hobos are among Polacco's best work. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Polaccos distinctive illustrations are filled with the usual cozy kitchens, snowy farm scenes and appealing children, but its Kay Lamity who stands out as the shining star of this touching, longer story. The story has humor, deeper meaning and a mystery as to Kay Lamitys true identity.”
“A familiar Polacco story of family warmth, this time with a touch of magic. . . . A story of longings, not just for gifts but for people and places that are gone or soon will be. . . . Bright patterns in fabric and setting provide additional warmth even when snowflakes are interspersed. Emphasizing human connections, Polaccos holiday story is quietly charming.”
“Reminiscent of Chris Van Allsburgs classic The Polar Express, this delightfully old-fashioned story reaffirms a childs belief in Santa Claus. . . . Deftly drawn pencil and marker illustrations eloquently portray Trishas nostalgic childhood world of cinnamon gumdrops, toy-store windows, and Santa parades, enhancing the warmth and charm of the story. Children will want to hear Gifts of the Heart every holiday season.”
Based on her own family history, Polacco retells the story of her grandmother's youngest brother Frankie, a little boy who learns--and teaches--an important lesson about giving during one Christmas. Full color.
The Stowell family is abuzz with holiday excitement, and Frankie, the youngest boy, is the most excited of all. But there's a cloud over the joyous season: Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and Pa hasn't returned yet from his trip to Lansing. He promised to bring back the oranges for the mantelpiece. Every year there are nine of them nestled among the evergreens, one for each of the children. But this year, heavy snows might mean no oranges . . . and, worse, no Pa!
This is a holiday story close to Patricia Polacco's heart. Frankie was her grandmother's youngest brother, and every year she and her family remember this tale of a little boy who learned--and taught--an important lesson about giving, one Christmas long ago
Patricia Polacco takes on cliques and online bullying
Lyla finds a great friend in Jamie on her first day of school, but when Lyla makes the cheerleading squad and a clique of popular girls invites her to join them, Jamie is left behind. Lyla knows bullying when she sees it, though, and when she sees the girls viciously teasing classmates on Facebook, including Jamie, she is smart enough to get out. But no one dumps these girls, and now they're out for revenge.
Patricia Polacco has taken up the cause against bullies ever since Thank You, Mr. Falker, and her passion shines through in this powerful story of a girl who stands up for a friend.
About the Author
Each year, Patricia Polacco (www.patriciapolacco.com), beloved creator of over fifty picture books, including Christmas Tapestry and An Orange for Frankie, visits classrooms all over the United States. But Christmastime is a special time of giving for Patricia, who fills her old-timey Union City, Michigan, home with the holiday: Christmas trees decorated with timeless baubles in every room and garlands of pine on the railings and mantels. A highlight is when Santa himself stops by a Christmas party at the village firehouse, accompanied by a real reindeer, to give gifts to the children of the village. In some ways Patricia herself is Kay Lamity, a witty, loving woman who understands what a real gift means.