Friday, November 14, 2008
OFFICIAL REVIEW OF "THE GIFT OF THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE" BY DANDI MACKALL
What do Cookie boards and Calvary boards have in common? Well, both are a testimony to loving hands which are full of caring mercy and grace! This is the message of the latest and most timely Christmas offering from Dandi Daley Mackall. Her new book “The Gift of the Christmas Cookie” carries that powerful message between its wonderfully illustrated pages.
Dandi, a well published author of over 400 books, did a masterful job of weaving the cold stark reality of Christmas in very tough early 20th century America into the even harsher days of the Middle Ages. Anyone over the age of fifty years old may have had parents and grandparents who can identify with these times.
The story of Jack and his hardworking mother is heartwarming in a tear jerky kind of way! The incredibly, time sensitive illustrations added tremendous atmosphere to a story of the great Christmas traditions of old!
Jack is the only son of a working class couple, where the dad has to go off, apparently far away to look for work. The depression era home is empty as Christmas comes around, but mom is busy making cookies for the needy in the church. Jack, as expected for a lonely boy, is downcast and missing his dad tremendously.
While making the cookies, Jack’s mom tells him the story of a Middle Ages woodcarver who lives among very poor and uneducated fellow villagers. He decides to bless the hungry villagers for Christmas by carving cookie boards to tell them about Christ. His family’s Christmas project was to make the cookies molded from those boards, decorate them with berries and colored sugar while daddy Woodcarver told the story of Christ!
Jack is then given his one Christmas gift – a large cookie, made from the same type of cookie board that long ago woodcarver made in another time and place.
The book has some poignant moments when a hungry stranger comes to the door asking for a meal on Christmas morning... Despite their poverty, Jack and his mom fed him a hot meal. All the while, Jack knew in his heart what he should do.
After the well fed stranger left the house, Jack picked up his only Christmas gift – that cookie board cookie – chased after the man and offered it to him! He then proceeds to tell the stranger about Christ.
One particularly neat illustration in the book can be found when Jack and his mom are in church admiring the Christmas story painted on the stained glass window. Right behind them is a man, who looked exactly like the woodcarver who started this whole cookie board story!
A really neat bonus for this Christmas season is the recipe that Dandi Mackall included in this book for the cookie board cookies! One of the best books of this Christmas season!