Cover image for The last chimney of Christmas Eve
The last chimney of Christmas Eve
High, Linda Oatman.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, Pa. : Boyds Mills Press/Caroline House, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
After Nicholas, a chimney sweep, receives a furry red coat, he returns to the rooftops to pass on the kindness he was given.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.2 0.5 53944.
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 Holiday
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Work Room

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It is Christmas Eve and Nicholas, a young chimney sweep, has one last chimney to clean. Shivering in his ragged coat, he climbs inside the narrow, sooty chimney, working his way to the top. From the roof, he sees the glow of fireplaces in the houses below and inhales the smell of warm mincemeat. "Someday," he thinks, "Christmas Eve will be joyful for me, the way it's meant to be." After the chimney is cleaned, the owner of the house surprises the boy with two presents: a big, warm coat anda glass snow dome. "Thank you for your kindness," says Nicholas. "Pass it on," says the man. When Nicholas grows up, he does precisely that. In this heartwarming book, Linda Oatman High and Kestutis Kasparavicius imagine the childhood of a familiar figure known for giving gifts. It offers a thought to bear in mind at Christmas and throughout the year: kindness received will grow when we pass it onto others.

Author Notes

Linda Oatman High is the author of Barn Savers, illustrated by Ted Lewin, Booklist 1999 Best Picture Book of the Year; Beekeepers, illustrated by Doug Chayka; and The Christmas Star, illustrated by Ronald Himler. She is also the author of the novels Mazie, Hound Heaven, The Summer of the Great Divide, and A Stone's Throw from Paradise. Ms. High lives in Narvon, Pennsylvania.

Kestutis Kasparavicius has illustrated more than thirty books for children, most of which have been published in Europe. In 1993 he was honored as Illustrator of the Year by the Bologna Book Fair, and his illustrations have been selected for the fair's exhibition nine times. He lives in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-7. Nicholas, a young chimney sweep, has a dirty, dangerous job, and not much to show for it: no money, no friends. Someday, he hopes, Christmas will be special for him. Then, a surprise: a customer gives him a warm coat and a snow globe with a Christmas scene. Years later, Nicholas finds a way to pass on the kindness. Now, instead of cleaning chimneys, he's turned into Santa Claus, going down chimneys with a sack of toys. The story is slight, making this a second-tier purchase. But the watercolors, despite a certain stiffness, have a warm holiday feeling that imbues the tale with Christmas spirit. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

When an orphan chimney sweep named Nicholas is unexpectedly given a red coat and a snow globe by a kind-hearted customer, he thanks the man, but is told simply to "pass it on." This Nicholas does, years later, returning to the chimneys of his youth once again but this time with gifts. High's (The Christmas Star) thoughtful story is enhanced with Lithuanian artist Kasparavicius's muted watercolors, whose many details from leaded glass windows to steepled rooftops lend an old-world flavor. Ages 6-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Nicholas is an orphaned chimney sweep with an unkind master. On Christmas Eve, the owner of the last house of the day treats the boy to a cup of cocoa, an oversized warm red coat, and a snow globe. When Nicholas, who has never received a gift, thanks the man for his kindness, he is simply told, "Pass it on." The turn of the page shows Nicholas as an old man and, remembering the day long ago, he decides to pass on the favor by climbing rooftops and sliding down chimneys to leave a trace of cheer. He is then shown floating over the town with a heavy pack. This simply told tale raises more questions than it answers. How did this Victorian-era chimney sweep (who assumably would reach old age in the 20th century) become Santa? Where are the reindeer? Why is the man floating? Did he die? What is happening here? In spite of the rather charming, old-fashioned illustrations, this odd tale is one that most people can skip.-A. C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.