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32 pages
Oct 2008

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus' Birth

by Dandi Daley Mackall

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The writing style seen in The Gift of the Christmas Cookie is very different from what is found in previous books written by Dandi Daley Mackall. Typically, Mackall uses rapid-fire, four-lined rhyming poems that come off in staccato fashion not unlike rap music or jump rope cadences.

This time, however, we have an unrhymed, detailed narrative that encompasses history, religion, and a coming-of-age story. Young Jack and his mother are doing their best to make ends meet during the Great Depression. Jackís father jumps on a freight train to see if he can find work in another town, and it now seems that he wonít be making it back home for Christmas.

To help create a festive mood for the holidays, Jackís mom pulls together her meager supplies of flour, sugar, and other baking goods and starts making special angel cookies.

As Jack helps pour the dough into the wooden angel molds, his mother tells him that this tradition started in the Middle Ages, when Jackís fatherís ancestors would carve angel molds, make cookies, decorate them with berries and brown sugar and then take them to needy people. As they distributed them, they would tell the story of the angels who announced the birth of the Christ child and how he came to save mankind from its sins. As they finish, Mom announces that she has saved one large cookie just for Jack. He is ecstatic over this news. But then a knock is heard at the door. An unemployed, starving man asks if there is any food he can have. Jackís mom gives the man some leftover breakfast food from that morning, and the man devours it ravenously. He thanks them and leaves. Suddenly, Jack grabs his cookie, chases the man, hands the cookie to him and says, ďItís yours. And thereís a story that goes with it.Ē He then witnesses to the man.

Besides being a delightful story filled with Christian virtues of being my brotherís keeper, the book also has phenomenal artwork by Deborah Chabrian. The fresh baked cookies are brown and steamy, making you think you could taste them. The outside snowflakes are crisp and breezy, with winter scenes frigid and sharp. This is surely one of those seasonal books that will not go out of date, but, instead, will be a treat to return to Christmas after Christmas. -- Dr. Dennis E. Hensley,

Book Jacket:

Itís the Christmas season during a time when people had little money to spend. Cookie jars held pennies, not Christmas cookies.

So when Jack smells something delicious coming from the kitchen, he canít believe his nose. Cookies!

But his excitement turns to disappointment when he learns the cookies arenít for him. Instead, Mother is baking them for the needy people at their church. While Jack helps roll out the dough, his mother tells him the legend of the Christmas cookie.

In a captivating interplay of simple words and beautiful illustrations, The Gift of the Christmas Cookie tells a tender story of givingónot just cookies, but gifts of the heart that last forever.