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In her first picture book, America’s beloved storyteller Kate DiCamillo reunites with Bagram Ibatoulline to offer readers an unforgettable holiday gift.
It is just before Christmas when an organ grinder and monkey appear on the street corner outside Frances’s apartment. Frances can see them from her window and, sometimes, when it’s quiet, she can hear their music. In fact, Frances can’t stop thinking about them, especially after she sees the man and his monkey sleeping outside on the cold street at midnight. When the day of the Christmas pageant arrives, and it’s Frances’s turn to speak, everyone waits silently. But all Frances can think about is the organ grinder’s sad eyes — until, just in time, she finds the perfect words to share. Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo pairs once again with acclaimed artist Bagram Ibatoulline as she presents a timeless story of compassion and joy.
About the Author
Kate DiCamillo is the author of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, winner of a Boston Globe-Horn BookAward; The Tale of Despereaux, winner of the Newbery Medal; Because of Winn-Dixie, a Newbery Honor winner; The Tiger Rising, a National Book Award Finalist; and four books starring Mercy Watson, including a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. She lives in Minneapolis.
Bagram Ibatoulline is the illustrator of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, as well as The Serpent Came to Gloucester by M. T. Anderson, Hana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyes, The Animal Hedge by Paul Fleischman, The Nightingale retold by Stephen Mitchell, and Crossing by Philip Booth. He lives in Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania.
The plotline is simplicity itself, and the text lacks any sentimentality or fluff, allowing the acrylic paintings, reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s work in their warmth and realism, to enrich and expand the story. —School Library Journal (starred review)
Ibatoulline’s evocative artwork moves [the story] to a higher level. The setting is the 1940s, and the art captures the time beautifully. —Booklist (starred review)
This simple but powerful story will indeed bring the reader great joy. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Newbury Medalist DiCamillo spins a tale of compassion and holiday warmth. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Yet another wonderful tale from the award-winning author that is beautifully depicted by Ibatoulline. —Library Media Connection, Highly Recommended
Bagram Ibatoulline's illustrations are all about the contrast between warmer, golden interiors and the cold purplish blue of winter's twilight. Frances acts in a way that lets her feel joy from within. —Chicago Tribune
Newbery medalist Kate DiCamillo’s heart-warming prose is gorgeously complimented by Bagram Ibatoulline’s inspiring illustrations…overlaid with a hazy glow of wonder. —National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature
The fabulous duo of DiCamillo and Ibatoulline, who gave us the beautiful Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane last year, has teamed up for a picture book that could become a holiday classic. —Kansas City Star
It's a simple story with a simple ending, but it focuses on what the season is supposed to be about: giving to others and opening up your heart. —Louisville Courier-Journal
A gorgeous volume with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, Great Joyis about the difference between marking Christmas and understanding its meaning. —Miami Herald
There's genuine warmth to the satisfying Christmas pageant climax, which resonates like a favorite carol — the kind that makes you cry. —Minneapolis Star Tribune
The atmospheric art contrasts the chill of the weather and warm glow of the climactic welcoming celebration. —San Francisco Chronicle
The best yule book of 2007…would revive anyone's Christmas spirit after a day spent enveloped in a swirl of mall Muzak and shoppers' elbows. —Tacoma News Tribune
An inspiring story of Christmas kindness…Luminous paintings capture the story's depth and light. —Grand Rapids Press
[A] touching story of good will toward all…Bagram Ibatoulline's subtle illustrations convey the true spirit of the season. —Literary Features Syndicate
Spare, loving prose and luminous acrylic illustrations make each full-page spread a heartfelt joy. Read this giving tale aloud to your loved ones this season. —Copley News Service
Unparalleled in its simplicity of words and its ethereal illustrations. —The Asheville Citizen-Times
This magnificently illustrated, heartwarming book is a different kind of holiday tale, one that addresses the true meaning of Christmas. —Catholic Online
Luminous illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline accentuate the power of random acts of kindness. —Charlotte Parent
A beautiful book from a very special storyteller. You’ll want to add this to your family’s collection. —Parentclick.com
Heart-warming prose is gorgeously complemented by…inspiring illustrations…overlaid with a hazy glow of wonder. —National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature