Dec 16, 2012

Something for Everyone...a Polacco Christmas Collection

Penguin Putnam Books for young Readers, 2002

It was inevitable that a Patricia Polacco title would be among Holly Mueller's ten favorite picture books in her post at The Nerdy Book Club blog. The challenge must have been to choose only one from among Polacco's many titles with themes centered on Christmas. Her choice of CHRISTMAS TAPESTRY had me nodding my head in agreement, then digging out my copies of her other books.

Aladdin, 2000

cried out for a mention.  Offering Polacco's characteristic 
illustration and story-telling style, an abundance of ethnic details, and a high-stakes plot, it would stand up well on any "best of the holidays" list. The fact that it expands a Christmas story to engage neighbors who celebrate Hannukah gives it bonus points by my standards.

Philomel, 2004

Then AN ORANGE FOR FRANKIE caught my eye and it was a three-way race. Polacco's stories are often rooted in family history as well as American history. In this case Frankie is from a generation removed, but his story feels near and dear to my heart. 
In a previous post I wrote about my mom's Appalachian childhood. Her holiday memories focused not on gifts but on music, at church and at home with her family. When she told of waking to find an orange in her stocking, with a few nuts and a peppermint stick for good measure, the expression on her face was very much like Frankie's on the cover illustration. His acts of spontaneous generosity and the support of his large family are further reflections of Mom's stories from childhood.

Puffin Paperback, 2002
Judging only by the cover, readers are likely to feel WELCOME COMFORT is the most logical choice of all. Although set in Union City, it is firmly rooted in fiction rather than history. 
Goodreads says:
"It's not easy being Welcome Comfort-a foster child always moving from home to home and getting picked on by the kids at school. Even Christmas, the most wondrous time of the year, isn't so wondrous for Welcome, since he has no family, no presents, and no Santa Claus. But when Welcome meets Mr. Hamp, the school custodian, he finally finds a friend. And when Christmas comes around, Welcome is taken on an extraordinary adventure that changes his life forever."

Polacco is so prolific and her stories so distinctive that you may have favorites of your own. Further suggestions are always welcome. After all, they may be deliciously rich and satisfying, but they're calorie free!

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