Friday, December 24, 2010

December Books, Day 24: Look Through My Window

Another Jean Little book?

Oh, it could have been The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas.  Or The Family Under the Bridge.  Or Phyllis Root's All For the Newborn Baby.

But this one seems right for now...

Look Through My Window (1970) is, in my opinion, one of Jean Little's best.  At least it's one of my favourites.  It's the story of Emily--a little lonely, a little bored--who enters a whole new adventure when she, her parents, and four small cousins who suddenly need looking after, move to a big old house in a new town.  Near the end of the book, all the kids, plus Kate (a new friend of Emily's) come down with chicken pox at Christmas time, and since Kate's parents have to go away, she comes to stay as well.  Itching for something to do (sorry), they decide to put on a Christmas play.
Christmas words went back and forth in her mind.

Star...shepherds...lambs...no room in the inn...

None of them would come together and make sense.  None of them held the beauty which had been there on the first night.

At last, in desperation, she got out the Bible.  She was curled up, reading over the old, old words, when Kate came tiptoeing in to check on her progress.

"I don't have to write it," Emily told her, her voice hushed.  "We can just use the words in here and act them out...."

They spent the next day casting and collecting costumes from here, there, and everywhere.  Sophie agreed to play King Herod when they promised not to give her any lines....

"I'm glad I'm here, Emily," Kate said then, all at once, her voice husky.

"I'm glad too," Emily told her.  "I have a feeling in my bones that this is going to be the best Christmas of my entire life."
One note about this book: if you're looking for a copy, try as hard as you can to find one with Joan Sandin's illustrations. The cheaper paperbacks are missing the pictures, and they're really good.

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