#789 – Christmas in America by Callista Gingrich & Susan Arciero

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christmas in america cover
Christmas in America
Written by Callista Gingrich
Illustrated by Susan Arciero
Regnery Kids     10/12/2015
44 pages      Ages 6—9

“Ellis the Elephant is back! In Christmas in America, the fifth in Callista Gingrich’s New York Times bestselling series, Ellis discovers the meaning of Christmas and learns how this special holiday has been celebrated throughout American history.” [inside jacket]

Ellis the Elephant loves Christmas. He also loves Christmas stories about the traditions of American Christmases long ago. Ellis begins with the settlers and travels throughout American history with stops during the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World Wars I and II. Ellis also visits happier times including Lewis and Clark’s expedition, White House celebrations thrown by Presidents Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt, and the lighting of the first National Christmas Tree. My favorite is Ellis’ visit with iconic artist Normal Rockwell, as Rockwell paints his famous Santa for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Lastly, Ellis launches into space with Apollo 8 during the astronaut’s Christmas Eve reading of the Bible.

Interior1_Christmas in America

Each spread is a small history lesson with a detailed resource in the back of the book. Kids will like Ellis the Elephant, a young elephant with a twinkle in his eyes. The illustrations are detailed images of the time with Ellis smack in the middle celebrating with the Americans. It is hard to enhance a story that is so detailed in the text that nothing is left for the illustrator’s imagination,yet Arciero has created an inquisitive, adorable elephant that will charm young children. The best spread is of Apollo 8 orbiting the Earth.

The story is written in close, but not perfect rhyme. It lacks the sing-song quality that works best in picture books. Teachers may enjoy Christmas in America for its overview of American History. As a Christmas story, something is missing. Maybe the text is too didactic to carry the holiday cheer of a good Christmas story. Written for pre-school to age three, I think the text and the subject better suits kids ages six to nine.

Interior 2_Christmas in America

Christmas in America sends Ellis the Elephant, known for his treks across American history, back in time in search of the meaning of Christmas, as it is celebrated throughout American history. I am not sure kids will find the meaning of Christmas, (though God and baby Jesus are mentioned in the spread on the Frontier), but they will definitely get a good lesson in how Americans have celebrated the season, no matter the surrounding circumstances, be it war or peace, good times or bad, on American soil or abroad. Those who love Ellis the Elephant and his past adventures will love Christmas In America.

CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA. Text copyright © 2015 by Callista Gingrich. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Susan Acriero. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Regnery Kids, Washington, DC.

Purchase Christmas in America at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksApple iBooksRegnery Kids.

Find Christmas in America on Goodreads HERE.
Find the Teacher’s Guide HERE.

Meet the author, Callista Gingrich, at her website:  http://www.gingrichproductions.com/
Twitter        @CallyGingrich
Meet the illustrator, Susan Arciero, at her website:  http://susanillustrations.com/
Find more books at the Regnery Kids website:  http://www.regnery.com/
.          .  Regnery Kids is an imprint of Regnery Publishing.

Also by Callista Gingrich & Susan Arciero
Sweet Land of Liberty
Land of the Pilgrims Pride
From Sea to Shining Sea
Yankee Doodle Dandy

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Christmas in America by Callista Gingrich & Susan Arciero, and received from Regnery Kids (an imprint of Regnery Publishing), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

TITLE by Callista Gingrich. Illustrations © 2015 by Susan Arciero. Used by permission of Regnery Kids.

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6 thoughts on “#789 – Christmas in America by Callista Gingrich & Susan Arciero

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