The Spider's Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story

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9780823417438: The Spider's Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story

Katrusya is devastated that her family cannot afford Christmas presents this year, but it simply wouldn't be Christmas without a tree. She soon finds the perfect one in the deepest part of the forest and decorates it with homemade ornaments. But the next day the tree is crawling with spiders! Luckily, Katrusya convinces her mother not to throw the tree away. When the family returns from church that evening, they discover that the spiders have left a dazzling Christmas miracle.

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About the Author:

Katya Krenina collaborated with Eric A. Kimmel onThe Mysterious Guests:A Sukkot Story, winner of the National Jewish Book Award and a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book. Raised in Lvov, Ukraine, Ms. Krenina now resides in New York State.

Eric A. Kimmel is the celebrated author ofHershel and theHanukkah Goblins, also set in Ukraine. He lives in Oregon.


Christmas and spiders seem an unlikely match, but painterly illustrations by Ukrainian native Krenina work well with a charmingly retold text to introduce American children to this unusual yet appealing holiday fable. The opening line―“‘No Christmas?’”―will immediately grab kids’ attention; the rest of the story combines traditional, religious Christmas elements (such as the braided bread that represents the Holy Trinity) with an unexpected miraculous gift from spiders nesting in the family’s Christmas tree. Cultural elements that may be unfamiliar, such as a bandura (similar to a mandolin), complement the recognizable sense of anticipation and preparation for this festive holiday. The impoverished family’s

homemade Christmas is a warm, happy one; their love is beautifully expressed in golden tones that highlight faces lit by candles in contrast with dark, shadowy backgrounds. The mystical element of the spider’s gift, webs that turn into real silver in return for the family sheltering baby spiders in the tree, is true to the spirit of the original Christmas miracle.

-Diane Foote


KIMMEL, Eric A., retel. The Spider’s Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story. illus. by Katya Krenina. unpaged. notes. Holiday House. 2010. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-1743-8. LC 2004054162.

K-Gr 3–In a traditional story well suited to the economic downturn, Katrusya protests when her parents say they are too poor to have Christmas this year. After a family meeting, they decide to get a tree from the forest, make presents, and create a celebration without spending much money. Katrusya ventures out with her grandfather and picks a tree that seems special to her. They decorate it with buttons and handmade ornaments, but the peace is shattered when her mother discovers the tree is full of baby spiders. Katrusya pleads to keep it and the harmless spiders rather than throw them out into the freezing night. After the family returns from church on Christmas Eve, they find that the spiders’ webs have turned to silver, the buttons to gold, and jewels adorn the handmade ornaments. Katrusya declares they should share their bounty with the villagers and they do. The warm acrylic illustrations add to the folkloric feel of this charming, well-told tale.–Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library

(School Library Journal)

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Katya Krenina (Illustrator), Eric A. Kimmel (Narrator)
Editore: Holiday House (2010)
ISBN 10: 0823417433 ISBN 13: 9780823417438
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
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Descrizione libro Holiday House, 2010. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 1. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0823417433

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