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The Scallop Christmas Review by Cindy West

By Jane Freeberg
Islandport Press
PO Box 10
Yarmouth, Maine 04096

Some of the most precious stories come from true tales, and The Scallop Christmas is no exception. Remembering her most special childhood Christmas, a grandmother teaches her grandchildren that hard times and hard work can often make memories even more special.

As a little girl, the grandmother lived during a time of little money on the New England coast. Surprisingly, her town's bay became full of scallops one brisk autumn, which meant the townspeople had a welcome opportunity to earn some extra money harvesting and selling the scallops. Because of a local law, only one basketful of scallops could be harvested daily per person on the boat. This meant the entire family had to pitch in so that a large harvest and large paycheck could be attained.

After nearly a week of harvesting, the children grew quite restless with their "job" and wanted nothing more to do with it. By the end of the harvest, though, their diligence proved important when their father got hurt and the little girl was the only one who could maneuver the boat back to the dock. She felt very proud of herself for persevering with the job and also being able to help her father.

As Christmas rolled around, the children were expecting their usual, humble gifts around the Christmas tree. Little did they know that the long hard days of working in the bay mean bright, shiny bikes for them on Christmas morning! They realized at that point that all the hard work had a pre-planned purpose, and it warmed their hearts to know their parents were thinking of them all along.

Watercolor illustrations add to the emotions of the story and bring to life the New England coast for those of us who've never been there. I'm happily adding this book to our Christmas bookshelf and wouldn't hesitate to recommend the same to you. This heartwarming story will make you smile during the Christmas season.

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010