grace at christmas

Grace at Christmas by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

On the 20th Anniversary of Amazing Grace, Hoffman has written a holiday addition to the series.  Grace loved Christmas even more than her birthday.  She loved acting out the Christmas story and spending time with her family.  This year, they were going to be joined by some new people for their holiday.  The granddaughter of a family friend and her daughter were going to come and stay for a bit.  The daughter was just Grace’s age, but Grace was worried about having them stay.  It didn’t get any better once they arrived and the girl seemed so quiet and shy.  Slowly the two girls become more friendly, and Grace learns that sometimes it’s the unplanned parts of Christmas that bring the most magic.

Hoffman writes with such confidence here.  She knows Grace and her family so well that the stories are sure footed and adept.  The characters too have a sense of reality and place that is the hallmark of a well-written series.  The growth that Grace shows throughout the book is equally well written and the story arc is clear and makes sense both for the sake of the story and the characters.

The art in the book follows the same style as the rest of the series.  It is realistic, colorful, and warm: an inviting mix.  The book celebrates Christmas but the color palette is definitely not limited at all to holiday hues. 

A great holiday addition to a beloved series, this book belongs in all public library collections.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books for Young Readers.