About the Book:
Title: A Christmas Too Big
Author/Illustrator: Colleen Madden
Pub. Date: November 2, 2021
Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for A Christmas Too Big Special thanks to Two Lions and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Kerry’s family cannot contain their Christmas spirit. Bring on the decorations, Christmas carols, cookie baking, binge holiday movie watching, and elves on a shelf. It’s Christmas around the clock!
Even when the family chooses a tree, they choose one the size of the Rockefeller Center tree. Overwhelmed, Kerry needs some space and heads outdoors in hopes for some simplicity. As Kerry walks down her street, she sees massive holiday decorations in her neighbors’ yards. Has everyone decided to have a Christmas too big?
Kerry’s saving grace is Mrs. Flores. After helping Mrs. Flores get her cart out of the snow, Kerry is invited into her house for un poco de cacao (cocoa). She notices that Mrs. Flores’ decorations are simple-a small Christmas tree with a picture of her family who live in Mexico. I love Kerry’s and Mrs. Flores’ interactions because their dialogue is written in English and Spanish. As Mrs. Flores teaches Kerry how to make paper flowers and they sing a song together, my heart tugged; Mrs. Flores is missing her family and Kerry is a source of comfort. When Kerry helps Mrs. Flores use her Christmas present from her family, my heart melted because the tablet allowed Mrs. Flores to communicate with her family.
A Christmas Too Big is full of humor and heart! The very detailed illustrations show how Kerry’s family goes full out for the holiday. I especially love the page spread of the entire house which shows there is not one area not adorned in Christmas decor. After spending time with Mrs. Flores, Kerry realizes that a small Christmas can still be big because the most important thing about Christmas is to be with those you love and care about. When she gets home, Kerry makes more paper flowers and adds them to her family’s decorations which propels her mom to suggest inviting over Mrs. Flores for Christmas dinner. By bringing Mrs. Flores’ small Christmas to her house, Kerry made Christmas big in heart for both her family and Mrs. Flores. At the end of the story, directions explain how to make Flores de Navidad (Christmas Flowers). Highly recommend this heartwarming holiday story!
Praise for A Christmas Too Big!
“An intergenerational friendship and a busy holiday made meaningful set this title apart.”
“Madden’s bilingual tale strikes both humorous and poignant notes; the visual blend of
comic-style panels, playful fonts, speech bubbles in both English and Spanish, and
traditional spreads offers readers plenty to celebrate.”
About the Author/Illustrator:
Colleen Madden grew up in a crazy Christmas house and, like Kerry, she found a break by spending time with her neighbor who was from another country. She has illustrated many children’s books, including the bestselling What If Everybody? series, written by Ellen Javernick, and the picture-book adaptation of All I Want for Christmas Is You, by Mariah Carey. She recently published Monkey Walk, her debut as both author and illustrator, and is currently working on her first graphic novel. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.
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