Fireside stories Tales for a winter's eve

Caitlin Matthews, 1952-

Book - 2007

A collection of eight traditional tales associated with a variety of winter celebrations from Scottish, Russian, Austrian, Czech, and Canadian lore.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room j398.26/Matthews Checked In
Cambridge, MA : Barefoot Books 2007.
Physical Description
94 p. : col. ill. ; 29 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Main Author
Caitlin Matthews, 1952- (-)
Other Authors
Helen Cann, 1969- (illustrator)
  • The lonely boatman (Scotland, Halloween)
  • The winter cabin (Russia, first snowfall)
  • Schnitzle, Schnotzle and Schnootzle (Austria, Christmas eve)
  • Cantor of the trees (Russia, New Year)
  • The twelve brothers (Czech Republic, midwinter)
  • Babushka (Russia, twelft night)
  • The bag of warmth (Canada, return of the sun)
  • The Cailleach of the snows (Scotland, coming of spring).
Review by Booklist Reviews

Winter is a special time for telling stories, notes Matthews in her chatty introduction, a time to gather around the fire together during long, cold nights. The eight traditional tales she assembles here—from snowy places such as Russia, Canada, Scotland, and Austria—are perfect for sharing. In Babushka, a grandmother follows the Three Kings, but she misses the Christ child. She still journeys every Christmas, leaving gifts for every child, just in case. In a Jewish tale, a brave boy saves nine trees by joining with them in the icy storm to make up the holy prayer circle (minyan) of 10. A story from the Slavey Indians is about the return of the sun. The retellings, exciting and cozy for reading aloud, are framed by elaborate, wide borders that evoke the traditional settings, and the accompanying watercolor-and-mixed-media illustrations show the different characters in a variety of winter landscapes. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 2–5— This collection of seasonal folklore introduces readers to the Celtic and Gaelic festival of Samhain , or Summer's End; Christmas Eve in Austria; the Jewish New Year of the Trees (Tu B'Shevat ); the Twelve Days of Christmas in the Czech Republic; the Twelfth Night in Russia; and Candlemas observed by the Slavey people of Canada. Each tale is accompanied by a brief introduction, setting the time and place for the story and providing necessary background information. Exquisite borders frame the text and lush watercolor illustrations enhance the narratives. Magical, mystical, humorous, and thoughtful, this anthology will be thoroughly enjoyed by independent readers and is a perfect choice for sharing aloud around a warm fire on a cold winter's night.-Rachel Kamin, Des Plaines Public Library, IL [Page 106]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A collection of eight traditional tales associated with a variety of winter celebrations from Scottish, Russian, Inuit, Austrian, Czech, and Jewish lore.