Cover image for The Christmas thingamajig
The Christmas thingamajig
Manuel, Lynn.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Dutton Children's Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.9 0.5 63625.
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 Holiday

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In this heartfelt, beautifully told story, a young girl comes to see the comfort of traditions after a loved one has died. Chloe doesn't want to go to Grandpa's for Christmas now that Grandma won't be there to share her warm hugs, delicious cocoa, and handmade thingamajigs, the ornaments she crafted for Chloe each year. Christmas will not be the same, so Chloe would rather not have it at all. Her grandfather's gentle encouragement and a last gift from Grandma show Chloe the bittersweetness of memories and traditions, and how they help you "face the new things," the things you have to make up as you go along.

Author Notes

Lynn Manuel and Carol Benioff have crafted a story as special as an old ornament, one that like many classic holiday tales mixes the yearning for Christmases past with the joy of a new holiday.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 2. Chloe knows the first Christmas after her grandmother's death will be painful. When everyone gathers at Grandpa's house, Chloe misses her Grandma's hugs, her hot chocolate, even the latest little "thingamajig" she would have made for the tree. Chloe can't believe how everyone goes about the usual traditions, but as the visit progresses, she and Grandpa talk about how much they miss Grandma. Later, when Chloe creeps down in the night to hang Grandma's last ornament, she unexpectedly meets Grandpa, who offers his hand in a "bit of a jig" ("a new kind of thingamajig"). Manuel's warm, lyrical text ably touches on grief's complicated emotions--the guilt and shame as well as the sadness--while showing the healing power of sharing memories and creating new rituals. Benioff's pencil-and-paint images contrast Chloe's sepia-tone recollections of the past with scenes in bright jewel colors that enliven the holiday festivities. --Shelley Townsend-Hudson

Publisher's Weekly Review

The first Christmas after Grandma's death is rocky for Claire, who misses "the sound of her singsongy voice calling them to breakfast and the soapy-clean smell of her hugs." As Claire's family rallies around to help her work through her grief, she learns to cherish the memories of such traditions as the "thingamajig" ornaments Grandma always made. Though Manuel's (The Night the Moon Blew Kisses) leisurely narrative breaks no new ground, bereaved families may appreciate the holiday backdrop. Debut illustrator Benioff combines bright but generally static scenes of Claire and family with muted insets portraying Claire's idealized recollections of Christmases past. Ages 6-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Chloe misses the special touches that her grandmother always brought to the holiday season, yet it doesn't seem right to celebrate the same traditions now that she has died. However, with Grandpa's help, Chloe learns that rituals can provide solid ground when everything else around her is changing and beyond her control. Manuel handles a difficult topic with gentleness and insight into a child's heart. The shared moments in which Chloe and her grandfather reminisce are particularly poignant and believable. Though not exceptional, Benioff's artwork is pleasant and nicely complements the story. Pictures representing the present time are in bright colors, while those evoking the past are in muted sepia tones. The upbeat ending makes this a story that will resonate with children, especially those who have experienced a similar loss.-L. I. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.