THE TRUE GIFT, by Patricia MacLachlan
Ages 9 to 12
Atheneum Books for Young Readers | Simon & Schuster
A Junior Library Guild Selection
All year long Lily and Liam look forward to Christmas on their grandparents’ farm. It’s always the perfect trip — walking to the lilac library, trimming the tree, giving gifts. But this year, thanks to a white cow alone in the meadow, things will be different. This Christmas, Lily and Liam will find out the meaning of a true gift.
From one of our most beloved authors comes a brand-new holiday classic that rings in the season by celebrating the joys of family, community, and true giving.
Newbery Medalist MacLachlan offers a quietly moving Christmas story that illustrates the power of children to change their world. Lily, the first-person narrator, and her younger brother, Liam, spend every Christmas vacation at their grandparents' farm. Liam wants to buy a cow as a companion for the family's pet, White Cow, who seems lonely out in the field by herself. By Christmas Eve, Liam has raised enough money to buy a calf companion, but there is also a Christmas surprise of several cow visitors brought by neighbors to keep White Cow company for the holiday. MacLachlan uses her typical taciturn style featuring dialogue and minimal description to convey the intense feelings of the sensitive little boy trying to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. Floca's delicate, full-page pencil illustrations complement the text with understated emotion.
School Library Journal:
Lily and her younger brother go to their grandparents’ farm for Christmas, as always. This year something is different; White Cow is the only animal in the field. Liam, certain that she is lonely, sacrifices his beloved books to buy her a calf companion, and Lily overcomes her fear of the large animal. The simple, elegant prose tells a warm family story with a classic holiday theme. Floca’s graphite and ebony pencil drawings are lush with evocative detail and perfectly complement this lovely offering. —Virginia Walter.
In this sweetly engaging chapter book, two siblings visit their grandparents' farm for Christmas. Liam, an especially sensitive bibliophile (he takes 37 books along), notices “White Cow” standing all alone in their field and worries she's lonely. While initially reluctant, narrator Lily goes along with Liam's plan to buy a cow friend for White Cow; as they pool their money, Liam posts signs asking for help from the community and sells his books. With MacLachlan's well-drawn characters and Floca's simple pencil and graphite drawings, it's a poignant story with a classic feel.