7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #260: Featuring
December 18th, 2011 by jules
One Very Possible and Very Festive
2011 Holiday Illustration Before Breakfast #9
(Click to enlarge and see entire spread from which this comes)
Today’s featured holiday title, The Carpenter’s Gift, is a tribute to the tradition of annually erecting a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Historian David Rubel wrote this one in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, and it’s illustrated by Jim LaMarche, whose work I’m always interested to see. (I think this one is rendered in colored pencil, but don’t quote me on that.)
It’s the tale of a young boy named Henry and his family, struggling during the Great Depression. The boy and his father, down on their luck, sell Christmas trees to workers in Midtown Manhattan and then later are given a kind surprise from those same workers on a cold Christmas morning. I don’t want to give the plot away, but the book takes readers through Henry’s life and ties into Habitat for Humanity, since every year since 2007 the lumber from the tree chosen for Rockefeller Center has been used to build a Habit for Humanity home and help families in need.
“Rubel’s story of compassion hits all the right holiday notes,” writes the Horn Book. “LaMarche’s lush, warm illustrations of glowing Christmas trees and smiling, caring characters drive home the central message of charity.” This is an earnest picture book text, and LaMarche was the perfect choice for illustrator; he brings both gravity and warmth to the book with the details in his artwork and his (always lovely) use of light.
And it’s certainly a good choice for introducing children to these two American traditions — the Rockefeller tree and Habit for Humanity International. It’s fiction, to be clear, but facts about both are included in notes at the close of the book.
THE CARPENTER’S GIFT: A CHRISTMAS TALE ABOUT THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER TREE. © 2011 by David Rubel. Illustrations © 2011 by Jim LaMarche. Published by Random House, New York, NY. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.
I’m going to keep it short again this week. Whatever nastiness visited me last weekend showed up again this week and lingered too long. I do finally feel better but am behind on everything. in. the. whole. entire. wide. world. Or so it seems to me.
My kicks are that Christmas cookies are finally decorated—we even dug out and finally used our ninja cookie cutters, so we have a Ninja Claus cookie, too beautiful to even eat—and that the episode of Saturday Night Live I just watched (let it be known I’m a ginormous and long-time SNL Geek) was the best of the season thus far.
Also, I love this story (and that song — AND that flat-out gorgeous cover). Thanks to Eisha for that link.
My apologies for the brevity, but I spent most of the week either coughing or resting. What are YOUR kicks this week?