A Christmas for Carol


32 pages
ISBN 0-9689723-5-7
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Aino Anto
Reviewed by Deborah Dowson

Deborah Dowson is a Canadian children’s librarian living in Powell,


A child experiences firsthand what it means to care for someone less
fortunate than himself in this bittersweet Christmas story.

The narrator recalls the details of his 1950s childhood, when Babes in
Toyland could be seen at the movie theatre for less than a dollar and
Boom Boom Geoffrion was the current hockey hero. He remembers the day
his friend Carol and her mother moved into the rooming house next door.
He felt sorry for her having to live in a shabby furnished room with no
telephone, television, or even decent clothes. What was worse was that
she was alone most of the time, with her mother away at work. He worried
about her, and did what he could to keep her company. However, Christmas
Day was made perfect: a kindly neighbor surprised her with a gift of a
small Christmas tree, and her young friend gave her a special present.

This picture book has a melancholy tone, as it centres on the
unfortunate circumstances of a disadvantaged child. The flavor of the
past is evoked by vocabulary that is formal, sophisticated, and dated by
such expressions as “mustered courage,” “craned my neck,” and
“roundabout way to the corner confectionary.” The illustrations are
very much in keeping with the theme: sombre and shadowy, being uniformly
washed in dark purple and grey. The story is both nostalgic and
timeless. Grandparents might appreciate sharing this story with their
older grandchildren. Recommended.


Gasparini, Len., “A Christmas for Carol,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23496.