12/20/13 ** Annual last day before break read aloud. I love this story. It emphasizes the effort and personal caring of one person to another, rather than the materialistic aspect of gifts.
12/21/12 ** Read it again to a new class of fourth graders. Amazing how well it fit in with the discussion of theme and character traits that we've been having.
12/17/2010 Well, I did my annual reading of this book with my class. It is perhaps one of the best books I can think of to highlight the true spirit of giving at Christmas. The gift doesn't matter nearly as much as the journey (time & effort) involved in the gift-giving. The last line of the book speculates on the gift as the author says, "I wonder what it was." An ahhh went around the room as some of my 4th graders began speculating about the gift while others muttered about not knowing for sure.
Another Christmas-book-reading scene that sticks in my head today is the image of one of my very rambunctious students sitting on the floor with a peer reading The Christmas Day Kitten by Herriott. When the boys finished reading aloud together, they sighed quietly said, "That's a sad book." After sitting introspectively for a moment holding the closed book, they asked me how many cat years are in a human year. I loved seeing their total engagement with a book that most of us wouldn't have identified as a book for the 'reluctant reader.'