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Cover image for A gift from Saint Nicholas
A gift from Saint Nicholas
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, ©1988.
Physical Description:
[32] pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
Freely adapted from an original story by Felix Timmermans.

"Printed in the United States of America"--Title page verso.
By the time Saint Nicholas gets to Cecile's house on Saint Nicholas Eve he is out of presents, but she remembers the wonderful chocolate boat in the nearby candy shop.
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A girl experiences the wonder of St. Nicholas Eve in this glorious Christmas story.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Over the years, the legend of Saint Nicholas, a bishop who lived in Asia Minor over 1500 years ago, has evolved into an image of the white-bearded, red-suited Santa Claus. But Timmermans's original story, St. Nicholas in Nood , written in the first part of this century, told of a loving, generous bishop who cared deeply for his people. When Saint Nicholas and his assistant are delivering presents, they run out of gifts before they have given something to the child Cecile. Cecile, who overhears them discussing the dilemma, tells the bishop exactly what she wants and where they can get it: a beautiful chocolate ship, the ``Congo,'' at the candy shop. But the miserly Trinchen Mutser, who owns the candy shop, doesn't believe the bishop is who he claims to be, and refuses to give him the costly ship. After they leave her store, Trinchen Mutser has a change of heart and gives Cecile the gift she so longs for. As in Babushka , Mikolaycak's dramatic old-world style illustrations have brought a historic tale vividly to life. The format of the book, that of an illustrated tale rather than a picture book, adds to the legendary quality of Kismaric's poetic adaptation and rekindles the true spirit of Christmas. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

In retelling Felix Timmerman's German text of a Dutch story, Kismaric makes a satisfying addition to the scanty literature about the good saint. Saint Nicholas runs out of gifts before coming to little Cecile. She would love to have the expensive chocolate boat that is the only thing left in stingy old Trinchen Mutser's candy shop; but although she, the saint, a wakeful poet, and the night watchman (a tipsy violinist) all beg, the old woman won't part with the boat without receiving ten groschen over its usual price--and none of them has any money. Still, when they leave, the old woman relents; and (unlike her Russian parallel, Baboushka) she is in time to make Cecile happy on St. Nicholas morning. Choosing Freiburg, Germany, as his setting, Mikolaycak has illustrated the story with his usual rich color, strong sense of design, and attention to detail, and--fittingly--with more than his usual warmth and humor. A Beautiful book; a welcome contribution to holiday collections. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-3, younger for reading aloud. It's a quiet, peaceful St. Nicholas Eve, and everyone is asleep except Cecile, who is wishing her gift would be the large chocolate boat called the Congo that sits in Trinchen Mutser's candy shop. St. Nicholas, who has nearly finished his work for the evening, would like to make her wish come true, but he has no money to buy the boat; Trinchen Mutser won't give it away, for she's convinced St. Nicholas is a mere impostor who is trying to take advantage of her. Neither St. Nicholas nor his helpers can convince the shopkeeper to part with the boat, and sad little Cecile goes home empty-handed. However, Trinchen Mutser has a change of heart when she witnesses St. Nicholas soaring into the sky and delivers the boat to Cecile's house for the little girl to discover in the morning. Messages on greed and the corruptive power of money emerge from the story, which will prove an absorbing alternative to stories that emphasize Christmas Day. A note explains who St. Nicholas was and some of the customs surrounding his December 5 feast day. Mikolaycak's pictures are typically rich, presenting dark winter displays and warm interiors brightened by costumes and carefully placed details. An unusual but sound addition to Christmas collections. DMW.