In the “The Gift of the Christmas Cookie,” we see the sweet story of a small family loving and sharing Christ’s love during the holiday. Jack’s father isn’t home this Christmas, he’s “out West”, having boarded a train in search of work. His mother has been putting every spare penny into the jar in the kitchen, but even the jar is sparse. Jack is surprised, then, to find his mother baking cookies when he comes from school. Alas, the cookies aren’t for him – they are for the needy at their church. Still, Jack isn’t convinced the needy are in need of such elaborate and fanciful cookies. So his mother tells him the story of the how Christmas cookies began, and how they speak of the true message of Christmas. Not too long afterwards, Jack is able to set aside his own needs to put in practice what he has learned.
I’m not sure whyI picked this book up from the library. Was it on a reading list somewhere? Someone’s blog? I dunno. I love the illustrations, but then I’m a sucker for pictures of people that actually look like people. The story is good enough. It’s a sweet tale, both in content and prose. And sentimental. Overly sentimental, morally preachy, and a little irksome. Or should I say tiresome? Because that’s how I feel when I read books like this. Tired. The truth is that it is fairly unlikely some poor German soul decided to carve a springerle mold and then stand in the village square with a tin of cookies, preaching the gospel. True, early Western springerle molds are often depicted with religious scenes (a fact the author indicates in a small paragraph on the last page of the book). Indeed, it seems the oldest springerle mold from Switzerland was of the Easter Lamb and found in St. Katharine’s monastery. But religious molds do not equal village square evangelizing and I’m not sure why we need to make up “legends” when we have so many good ones already in existence. St. Nicholas and St. Lucia come to mind, for example. And hey! You can even make a St. Nicholas Springerle. Yes! The boy learns a lesson and gives his own cookie to a needy man, and then shares the Gospel with said man. Beautiful what this boy, Jack, does. I’m not trying to diss the message. I love the message. Just, I’m not a fan of its presentation in this book.
- Author: Dandi Daley Mackall
- Publisher: Zonderkidz (August 5, 2008)
- Hardcover 32 pages
- Reading Age: 4-7 years
What You Need to Know
- Role Models/Authority Figures – Mother and father of the family are married. Father has left “west” to find a job and sends his money home to support his family.
- Violence – None
- Sexual Content – None
- Consumerism – None.
- Drinking/Smoking/Drugs – None
- Religion – Promotes the true Christmas story.
- Other –