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Christmas Rhymes

Father Fox's Christmas Rhymes - Full Reviews


The Watson sisters reassemble the fox cast of their beloved Father Fox's Pennyrhymes to celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas, the sort Mother Goose might have conjured had she lived in New England. Full-page compositions framed in white borders, panel and spot art vary the pacing, decked in a holiday palette of reds and greens-not the shiny colors of ornaments, but the calm, subtle hues of folk art. The individual foxes, meanwhile, are as full of personality as ever. The rhymes can be read singly or as one loosely joined narrative. From Father Fox arriving home "with sweets in my pockets & holes in my socks" and the cubs making a snow horse ("Up into the saddle/ Holding tight to your mane/ I'll gallop to the North Pole/ & come right back again") to wishing on the "first star I see tonight" for "peace & love & joy," this book distills the essence of the season's many pleasures. Ages 4-8.

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The festive illustrations and the poems about the holiday bring to mind the perfect Christmas of an old-time greeting card. This is the Christmas everyone dreams of, a warm and wonderful day preceded by cheerful preparation and eager anticipation. A Christmas of cinnamon sticks, snowflakes, and the perfect Christmas tree, "Every branch full of promise & light & surprise." Father Fox, Mama and a large family of cubs all pitch in, making gifts, cooking and baking, and bundling up to go out in the forest where they find a tall, full tree to bring home and decorate with candles, apples and candies. On Christmas Eve the cubs go to bed and pull up the covers, waiting to hear footsteps on the roof or the sound of a bell. The love and appreciation of the Fox family shines throughout as they give thanks and find joy in being together. A lovely, reassuring, book to read to youngsters.

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The frisky fox family from the Watsons' beloved classic Father Fox's Pennyrhymes (1971) celebrates Christmas together in this beautifully designed tribute to an old-fashioned holiday season. Fifteen rhyming poems follow the foxes as they decorate, make presents, play music, eat with the relatives, and play in the snow, and then enjoy their tree and presents together. Some of the poems are jolly and funny, while others are more quiet and thoughtful, speaking of candlelit walks in the forest, listening for angel voices, or wishing on the first star, "a wish for peace and love and joy." The charming foxes in their patched, old-fashioned clothes have irresistible expressions, and the exciting, candlelit spirit of the season captured in both art and poetry is irresistible as well. Like the bright flames in the foxes' hearth, this charming collection "will toast the toes and warm the heart."

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