"The Best Christmas"


Book: The Best Christmas

Authors: June B. Mason, and Sarah Hines Stephens

Publisher: Scholastic Inc., republished in 2005

ISBN-13: 9780439683715

ISBN-10: 0439683718

Language level: 2 (barely–just one euphemism)

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Mason, Jane B., and Stephens, Sarah Hines. The Best Christmas (published in 2002 by Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York City, NY 10012). This book (not to be confused with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson), set in the Great Depression, is about Hattie Best whose mother has died and whose father is travelling across America looking for work. She has to live on a farm in Minnesota with her two aunts and little brother. Their new neighbors, the Swensons, have moved to the country from the city of Duluth, and their daughter Lily, who is in Hattie’s class at school, seems stuck up. Christmas is coming and Hattie just is not in the spirit until she decides to do everything that she can to get and keep her father home. There is very little objectionable in this book. The euphemism “golly” is used once, but otherwise no bad language is found. Those who dislike any mention of Christmas may want to avoid this book, but there is not much if any religious emphasis put on its celebration. Actually, it seems to me that the book has a warm, sweet message that involves learning how to be concerned about helping others and would be good supplemental fiction reading for students who are studying about the Great Depression.

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