by Dora D. Flack
SYMBOLS & STORIES OF CHRISTMAS is a charming family and classroom storybook for December and all the months of the year. The author combines historical research concerning the origin of Christmas customs and traditions with a variety of fresh new stories for young and old. She asks, “What About . . . Bells, Christmas Trees, Lights, Poinsettias, Santa Claus, Gift-giving, Shepherds, Carols, Angels, and Stars,” and then provides interesting facts concerning the origin of each of these Christmas symbols. Her original stories have appeal for those of all ages. Young people will be delighted by The Legend of the Foolish Fir Tree, How Christmas Came To Be, The Angel’s Voice, and Joel, the Shepherd Boy. Older children will enjoy The Legend of the Flaming Flower, The Christmas Intruder, Christmas Appointment, and Amy’s Awakening. Some of the stories are based on on true incidents, such as Scout Sub, which tells of a scout who subs for Santa as his Eagle Scout project. Others relate customs from foreign lands, such as Finnish Lights, A Swedish Lucia, and Belgian Bells. Of special interest is that in her section on Christmas carols, she cites all six of the original verses to Silent Night, and all five of the original verses of O Little Town of Bethlehem. There are stories and historical facts of interest to the entire family. SYMBOLS & STORIES OF CHRISTMAS is an outstanding and unique collection of information and internationally-oriented tales for the Christmas season that will make Christmas brighter in the home, school, and library.