Cover image for The Christmas cobwebs
The Christmas cobwebs
Bodkin, Odds.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Having reluctantly parted with their treasured Christmas ornaments, members of a German immigrant family awake on Christmas morning to find miraculous replacements spun by spiders.
General Note:
"Gulliver books."
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 51326.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PIC BK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PIC BK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Work Room
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Holiday

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A poor shoemaker and his family move from Germany to Chicago with only a box of glittering glass ornaments. But when a tragic fire destroys their new house and shop, the family has to move into an abandoned shack, with cobwebs dangling from the rafters. Soon the shoemaker must sell his family's cherished decorations. But on Christmas morning, they all awaken to a shimmering surprise hanging from their tree.
Spun by the Christmas spirit, a wonderful magic weaves throughout this holiday tale.

Author Notes

ODDS BODKIN is an acclaimed storyteller, composer, and teacher. He lives in New Hampshire.

TERRY WIDENER 's widely praised work includes several picture books that have been honored as New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Books of the Year. He lives in Texas.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-8. In this poignant Christmas story set in "old Chicago," a "humble cobbler" and his family anticipate Christmas by admiring the one memento they saved from their old home in Germany--a box of beautiful glass ornaments. When a fire burns the cobbler's shop and home, the cobbler rescues only the box of ornaments, taking it with him when he resettles the family in a cobweb-strewn shack. Everyone tries to prepare for Christmas, but the cobbler must sell the ornaments to support the family, leaving the tree bare. The shack's story takes a magical turn when the spiders living in the shack weave beautiful decorations onto the tree, surprising and delighting the displaced family. The simple, well-written text is perfectly paced for quiet story hours, and the stylized, nicely composed paintings echo all the emotional drama. Children who have experienced or can imagine leaving behind the security of their own warm homes will connect with this moving offering, and parents will appreciate the message about materialism. Great for family read-alouds. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Even arachnids get in the holiday spirit in Bodkin's (The Crane Wife) warm tale of a kindness repaid. All seems hopeless after a humble cobbler loses his workshop and home to fire just before the holiday and must sell his cherished heirloom Christmas ornaments. But when the cobbler and his family take shelter in a nearby shack and are careful not to disturb the cobwebs ("spiders' homes"), the grateful spiders spin lacy "ornaments" for all to enjoy. Widener (The Babe and I) trains his contemporary style on the old-fashioned proceedings with sturdy, flattened compositions. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-When a fire destroys a cobbler's house, he is able to save his family and a box of Christmas ornaments that came from their German homeland. He moves his wife and children to an old shack and must sell the keepsakes in order to replace his tools. On Christmas Eve, while the family sleeps, spiders come down from the rafters and fashion delicate cobweb ornaments for their bare Christmas tree. Although the messages (home is where the heart is, and don't forget to be nice to spiders) are fine ones, the story never really comes alive, a flaw that isn't alleviated by the glowing but rather flat acrylic illustrations. Pleasant but not a first purchase.-E. M. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.