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  • Writer's pictureClover

The Gift of a Good Book

There are time-honored activities that won’t change over the holidays—like book sharing, enjoying quiet times together snuggling up with “The Gift of a Good Book.” Clover’s wings are a-shimmer as she presents three wonderful reads sure to put stars in your eyes and have kids clamoring for “just one more page.”

To all in Clover-Land, a blessed, happy season of goodwill and good health.

The Community Literacy Foundation, with support from it's sponsors, provides these books to 37 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Youngest Read

Marla Frazee creations are a treat, and the second in her “Farmer…” series, “The Farmer and the Clown,” is a wonder. Following the trajectory of book one, a train deposits an unlikely visitor onto the Plains where a lonely farmer resides.

The farmer still grieves the loss of the little clown as he sits in his barebones abode contemplating the clown’s red hat. Suddenly there’s a knock at his door—a monkey appears, tipping its red hat in hello.

This introduction ends any semblance of order in the farmer’s life. With energy-plus, the monkey commands control, leaving the farmer so stressed he draws a line in the snow that’s hastily crossed when disaster threatens.

There’s more sadness in store for the farmer, but hope as well. A clue subtlety protrudes from the farmer’s hat. Pay attention to the details in this charmer with expressive illustrations by the master herself.

Middle Read

Loren Long shows his stuff in the “The Night Before Christmas,” by Clement C. Moore. Using different settings featuring diverse characters,

Long focuses on the theme that we each celebrate Christmas in our own unique way.

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” The mouse is asleep in a hidey-hole, and a pup dozes on a couch near the fireplace. Upstairs children slumber.

Magic trumps reality when the “little old driver” appears, initially shown as a shadow against a snow-strewn roof, an illustration sure to prompt excitement. Joy builds as the “jolly old elf” in a checkered vest, lands in a living room fireplace, a woman looking on from the hallway.

Santa also appears to a man. Obviously not long on cash, the guy has tacked up a hand-drawn image of a fireplace on his wall. Santa’s unperturbed—treating each recipient without a morsel of disparity.

In his latest offering, Long sends a marvelous message, putting an inclusive spin on a beloved classic.

Oldest Read

Some girls might ask for a pony for their birthday. Kate doesn’t. But she gets something she can ride anyway, a surprise from her wealthy Uncle Herbert—an operable steam engine with an array of cars.

So begins the fantasy “The Silver Arrow,” by Lev Grossmann, an environmental tale that will have you clamoring to climb aboard.

Kate and her younger brother Tom are overwhelmed by their uncle’s generosity, especially since their own parents seem more interested in their phones than their children. When Uncle Herbert, their mother’s brother, presents Kate with The Silver Arrow, and invites the two to step aboard, there’s another shocker. Without warning the engine takes off, leaving their uncle aghast.

It’s the start of an adventure the siblings couldn’t have foreseen in their wildest imaginations. They are tasked with being conductors, and the responsibilities entailed with keeping the engine running and the passengers happy—talking animals of all shapes and sizes, from continents throughout the world, who board the train bound for new places where they can proliferate.

Along for the ride are a fishing cat, mamba, a heron, a polar bear, a porcupine and a baby pangolin, among other creatures. Together this unlikely group faces danger as The Silver Arrow journeys on.

There’s magical entertainment aplenty in a book about an engine on an admirable mission.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2020, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.

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