The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
Walker Books, 1997
Jonathan Toomey, a master wood carver, was once a happy man with a wife and a baby, but since their death his grief has turned him cold and hard. He packed his belongings into a wagon and travelled till his tears stopped. He settled into a tiny house at the edge of a village to do his wood-carving.The children call him “Mr Gloomy” and “Gloomy Toomey”. He went about mumbling and grumbling, muttering and sputtering, grumping and griping. He complained that the church bells rang too often, that the birds sang too shrilly, that the children played too loudly.Then one winter’s day the widow McDowell and her son Thomas knock at Jonathan’s door to ask if he will make them a set of nativity figures. When he reluctantly agrees, the miracle begins…
This is a heart-warming and poignant story set in yester-year and so beautifully illustrated that it was awarded the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. Given the amount of text it is probably a story for older children or one that could be read aloud over a couple of nights. It may even lead them to read the Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol. Just beautiful.