Cover image for A Christmas tapestry
Title:
A Christmas tapestry
Author:
Polacco, Patricia.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Summary:
A tapestry that is being used to cover a hole in a church wall at Christmas brings together an elderly couple who were separated during World War II.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
490 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.2 0.5 63612.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.1 3 Quiz: 34143 Guided reading level: R.
ISBN:
9780399239557
Format :
Book

Available:*

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J PIC BOOK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
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On Order

Summary

Summary

When a bad leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father's church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks his family's first Christmas Eve service in Detroit will be ruined, too. But then he and his father find a beautiful tapestry for sale in a secondhand shop. Just the thing to cover the damaged wall and give the church a festive look! But then, amazingly, an old Jewish woman who is visiting the church recognizes the beautiful cloth. It is her discovery that leads to a real miracle on Christmas Eve.

This timely tale of love and generosity between people of different religious faiths is a wonderful showcase for Polacco's art. It features snowy holiday scenes and a colorful tapestry that is almost a character in itself.


Author Notes

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography.

After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything.

Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6. Polacco is a master at intergenerational, interfaith stories that bring comfort and joy, and this one based on homilies she had heard widely separated in time and place is no exception. Jonathan must adjust when his preacher father moves the family to Detroit. After lots of work, the church is almost ready for Christmas, but then ice damage gouges a hole in a church wall. Father and son find a beautifully embroidered hanging and buy it with the last of their money; as they wait in the snow for the bus, an old woman offers them tea from her thermos. When they finally get to the parsonage, she is astonished to find the tapestry is one she had made as a chuppah for her wedding in Germany, before she was separated from her new husband who was lost in the war. The plasterer, who comes to fix the hole, also recognizes the hanging, and delighted audiences will soon figure out his identity. Christian and Jewish holiday celebrations intermingle with the message that nothing in the universe is random. The tender colors and gestures in the illustrations echo the text to make a satisfying whole. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido


Publisher's Weekly Review

Polacco's (The Keeping Quilt) knack for spinning seemingly disparate characters and plot elements into personal yarns works to great effect in this holiday picture book, based on a "true story" told as a church homily. Jonathan resents his Baptist preacher father's reassignment from Memphis to a dilapidated church in Detroit, and he's dismayed when damage from a blizzard ruins months of planning to restore the building in time for Christmas Eve services. But the elegant-looking, bargain-priced tapestry he and his dad purchase to cover the damage miraculously brings about the reunion of an elderly Jewish couple separated decades earlier during the Holocaust. Though the tale slows in spots, Polacco's signature illustrations of swirling snow, the fine tapestry and numerous love-filled faces invite readers to linger. All ages. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Jonathan has made a good adjustment to life in Michigan after his father takes over as the pastor of a rundown Baptist church. The whole family has worked hard to renovate the building and restore the congregation. The boy becomes distraught, however, when a snowstorm causes a leak and ruins the wall behind the altar just before Christmas. In a series of events that would strain belief in anything other than a holiday story, he and his father find a tapestry to cover the wall and bring about a reunion between two Holocaust survivors who had used the hand-stitched cloth as their wedding canopy. An author's note cites two different Christian ministers as the source of this sentimental story. It is well suited to Polacco's signature theme of ecumenical tolerance and illustrated with her familiar pencil-and-watercolor artwork.-V. W. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.