#790 – The Best Part of Christmas by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

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the best part of christas cover
The Best Parts of Christmas
Written & Illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Candlewick Press    9/22/2015
32 pages    Ages 4—8

“Fritz knows that the best parts of Christmas—from decorating to sharing treats ad opening presents—happen around the tree. And Fritz gets to pick out the perfect tree for his family’s celebrations—one that also makes good company when some quiet time is needed.

“After Christmas is over, the tree begins to droop, and eventually Mom and Dad say it’s time for it to go. But Fritz isn’t ready to say good-bye. Will he find a way to keep his tree—and the happiness that gathered around it—with him all year through?” [inside jacket]

The dust jacket pretty much tells Fritz’s Christmas tree story. He does have an interesting and intuitive way of decorating the tree. Fritz is a smart lad and he realizes that most anything can be an ornament. So he makes paw prints and hand prints; adds a teddy bear and other small toys; candy canes, and Mom’s gingerbread cookies. As with most Christmas trees, gifts began appearing under it, which Fritz carefully shakes. Christmas eve the family gathers around the tree, sing, and enjoy each other’s company. In the morning, gifts are opened and the day winds down.

As the days after Christmas pass, the tree loses more and more needles until it is nearly bare. Mom and Dad say it is time for the tree to go, but Fritz is not ready for the happiness the tree inspires to end. He tries to hold on, but the tree goes. Left behind is a small branch.

The Best Parts of Christmas is a beautifully illustrated story. The Christmas tree is the center of Fritz’s holiday. He reads and naps by the tree and at night he makes wishes. He knows that the tree inspires a happiness that only comes around once a year. Fritz wants this happiness to last year-round. He salvages the broken branch and, remembering anything can be an ornament, he decorates his beautiful tree. I imagine it would be difficult to see that branch and not recall the Christmas happiness felt when the entire tree was alive.


The illustrations are beautifully rendered in pen and ink and watercolor. Fritz is an adorable boy as is his trusty canine companion. I love the spread where Fritz and his dog have fallen asleep by the tree. Fritz had been reading and the dog has his bone. The other detail I really like is the sketchbook laying on Fritz’s bedroom floor.

Getting a tree in the house and decorating it is a universal activity that signals the start of Christmas. When the tree goes, Christmas is gone with it. Fritz wanting to hold onto the tree—the holiday and all that goes with it—is probably a common desire for kids. The text leaves the emotions unsaid, but they are there with Fritz as he tries to keep the holiday feelings alive with the small branch. With Fritz, the Christmas tree remains alive and vital and with it all the happiness that surrounds the season.

For many, Christmas is truly the best part of the year and the tree is the center of the celebrations. I think The Best Parts of Christmas could easily become a family classic.

THE BESTS PART OF CHRISTMAS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Purchase The Best Parts of Christmas at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksCandlewick Press.

Find The Bests Part of Christmas on Goodreads HERE.
Find Activity Pages HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Bethanie Deeney Murguia, at her website:  http://www.aquapup.com/
Blog      Facebook      Twitter       @aquapup
Find more books at the Candlewick Press website:  http://www.candlewick.com/
Facebook     Twitter       @Candlewick

Also by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Violet and Victor Write the Most Fabulous Fairy Tale (January 2016)
Princess! Fairy! Ballerina! (2016)
Cockatoo, Too
I Feel Five!

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

Full Disclosure: The Best Parts of Christmas by Bethanie Deeney Murguia, and received from Candlewick Press, 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.”

THE BEST PARTS OF CHRISTMAS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. Used by permission of Candlewick Press.

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10 thoughts on “#790 – The Best Part of Christmas by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

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      Liked by 1 person

  1. I knew our tree was missing something…. Pawprints!! We need more of those – not just on the floor, in the car, all over the windowsill, and on Mom’ pants. On the tree! It’s brilliant!

    Love and licks,


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