Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas: A Christmas Spider's Miracle

A peasant, a spider and a year's worth of good fortune are shared in this Ukraine tale.

Noble, Trinka Hakes.
A Christmas Spider's Miracle.
September 2011.
Sleeping Bear Press.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

It's a mother's instinct to want the best for her children and to do everything in her power to provided that to them. No less can be expected in the Ukraine tale told by Trinka Hakes Noble.

One Christmas Eve, a spider nestles deep into a pine tree, trying to keep her spiderlings safe from the dangers that a warm home might pose. Not far away, a peasant mother longs to provide her children with the Christmas they deserve. Unable to provide them with gifts, she decides to at least present them with a Christmas tree, full of homemade ornaments. When she struggles to create the ornaments and ultimately falls asleep on the table while trying, the mother spider takes note of her efforts and realize that they both are just seeking the best for their children, as the spiderlings have been left safely alone in their pockets. She sets to work, thankful for the warm, safe home to sleep - weaving a web of homemade ornaments as a thanks for the warm place to sleep.
But both mothers felt richly blessed; one by the safety of a warm house and the other by a small spider's Christmas miracle.

Even to this day, in the land of Ukraine, if you see a spider on Christmas Day, it will bring you good fortune for the whole year. But just to be sure, Christmas trees across the land all have one very special ornament... a sparkling jeweled spider.
This story is eloquently shared through Noble's text and Costanza's illustrations. It is however, a bit complex for younger children, but would most likely be appropriate for children ages 8-12. Children's books are a wonderful way to share the traditions and tales of other cultures and this book is no exception - it's definitely worth sharing this holiday season!

Reading Activity:
  • Add a bit of Ukraine tradition to this year's Christmas tree! After reading, work with your child to create a sparkling jeweled spider of your own to ensure a year's work of good fortune!

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