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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An Old-Fashioned Christmas by Paul Engle~★★★

Author: Paul Engle
Title: An Old-Fashioned Christmas
Release Date: 1964
Publisher: The Dial Press
Genre: Non-Fiction/Poetry

Book Jacket: "'Every Christmas should begin with the sound of bells,'-so begins Paul Engle's An Old-Fashioned Christmas-and we believe that many Christmases will now begin with a reading of this radiantly nostalgic book which tells of the holiday in prose and verse. Christmas may no longer be heralded in by the ringing and clanging of bells on a team of horses trotting through new-fallen snow, but Paul Engle has captured the memories of lost Christmases for readers today..."


Taryn's Review: I saw this book sitting alone on the Christmas kiosk at my library, so I picked up and gave it chance. It isn't a great book, but it's not necessarily bad either. The poems about Christmas are cute and easy for younger children to read, especially since they all rhyme. The stories differed from the poetry, however. Engle reminisced about his Christmases as a child as well as the ones he spent raising his children. They were fun stories to read but my issue with the stories was that Engle retold them with the tone that his Christmases were true Christmas celebrations and that current celebrations are not as meaningful as his own were. Times change and with that traditions change. It doesn't make one better than the other.

I also was very disenchanted with Engle's essay called, "A Woman's Holiday." He suggested that the Christmas holiday is for women since it is a holiday that requires preparation and women enjoy this. He also claimed men are more suited to be in charge of holidays like the 4th of July. I know the book was written in 1964, so this book is a nice reminder of how far gender equality as come.

Overall, I disagree with the book jacket that this is a book you'll pick up every holiday season and read aloud, but certain poems might be some that you'd like to revisit during the holiday festivities!

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