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The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

4.41 of 5 stars 4.41  ·  rating details  ·  7,358 ratings  ·  234 reviews
Booksellers, reviewers, and readers immediately embraced The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey as a moving tale of the spirit and generosity all people hold in their hearts, especially during the holidays. And now this stunning gift set invites friends and family to gather and enjoy the magic of holiday storytelling at its finest.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 6th 2000 by Tommy Nelson (first published January 1st 1996)
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A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. SeussThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. MooreThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
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14th out of 165 books — 196 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This book has incredible artwork as well as a beautiful story about the redeeming power of love and the magic of Christmas. It's a wonderful children's story that more adults should check out. <3
I very much enjoy picture books. Although they are geared to children, I find the stories wonderful to read to myself quietly or out loud. The words often seem to sing and I find the ones that sometimes rhyme to be fun and joyful. An important and powerful message is usually conveyed in a story of few words.

What I particularly like about picture books however are the illustrations. It is pleasurable to view so many quality paintings in one sitting, all combined into one tiny, terrific package.
This is a touching, sweet story about loss, love and healing and is, to my mind, quite an excellent one for the holidays. Some might find it a bit too "sentimental" but I felt that the fine storytelling and warm but realistic illustrations save it from being the least bit cutesy or unbelievable. Woodcarver Jonathan "Gloomy" Toomey lost his wife and baby son to illness some years ago and can find no joy in life until one day a window and her young son come to ask Mr Toomey if he could please carv ...more
Jo Ann
What could be better than cuddling up with a 12 year old granddaughter by the Christmas tree, reading a beautiful Christmas book? Okay - that in itself is so wonderful - but had I read this book alone, I would still have rated it a 5. The illustrations are nothing short of gorgeous works of art, and the story's lovely...warms my heart!
We started a tradition of letting the kids pick one wrapped Christmas book per night in December and reading it to them. Matthew bought a bunch of new books and it's been fun to read them together. This one takes the cake, hands down. Both the story and the illustrations are top-notch. The author's objective was to write a story that captures the power of the hope of Christmas illuminating despondency, and the illustrator spent a lot of time researching the period to get all the details right. I ...more
Mal Kelly
I read this to my children year after year at Christmas time. It is without a doubt, my favorite Christmas book. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Reread this after watching the film of the same name. Fortunately Bill Clark's film version sticks to same basic story, only filling out the lives of the widow McDowell and Thomas and presenting the story more from their perspective than from Mr. Toomey's. This doesn't detract from the essence of the tale.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is a heart-warming, holiday vignette about being helped through helping. I can still recall with fondness the first time I read it to my children. In a
Every Christmas I gather all my Christmas picture books and put them on my coffee table. There are 4 huge stacks of them. I put my favorites on top so I am sure to read them during this very busy season. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is always front and center. I'm embarrassed to admit I have never made it all the way through without tearing up. It is truly touching. The fantastic illustrations are top-notch as well. The CHRISTmas spirit changes hearts is the message I take away each ...more
This was a wonderful Christmas book. I think all of my grandchildren should read it. It is from the older days and the drawings are beautiful. The story is about how the true meaning of Christmas can change a persons life.
One of my favorite Christmas books! The story is precious, about a mother and son who ask a cranky old man named Jonathan Toomey to build a nativity scene for them. As they befriend him, they come to realize that there is a lot of love and compassion behind the crankiness. It opens your eyes to the lesson that everyone has a story and everyone deserves to be loved. The story is wonderful and the illustrations are divine.
I have loved this gorgeously illustrated story for many years and love to listen to my mom read it to me and my seven grown siblings by the twinkling light of our Christmas tree. I wondered if it would be too old for my kids this year, and I think it was because it's a long story and we only read it through a couple of times. It has all the elements of a great story and includes some of the magic and miracles of Christmas.
Beautiful Christmas story. My favourite part of the book though was the artwork. P.J.Lynch's artwork was exquisite and stunning. A wonderful book to have at home to be read during festival times.
Love this book...there is actually a play/musical being done based on the book in Chicago this month for Christmas (Nov/Dec 2011) at the Provision Theatre...if you like this book, check out the play!
I can still hear my dad's voice every time I read this book. It was one of our favorites in my home as a child. Now it is a favorite in my own home with my own children!
If I could give this book A thousand stars, I would!
It's just so beautiful the way the author wrote it
and the illustrations are so gorgeous,
they take your breath clean away!
This book is about an excellent woodcarver who happens to be widower and is asked by a young woman and her son to carve the nativity scene for Christmas. Jonathan is a very angry man until this mom and son make a difference in his life and bring him joy without even realizing it. This book is for children ages 6-10 years old and is in the genre of fiction, picture books, and holiday books. I rated this book five stars because it was so beautifully and cleverly written. The story was inspirationa ...more
Molly Toomey
A lonely woodcarver sits by the fire each night remembering the wife and child that he lost. When a widow and her son arrive at his door and commission a set of nativity scene characters to be done before Christmas, he accepts the job. The widow and her son come by every so often so the son can watch Jonathan Toomey carve. He helps the woodcarver to see the life and joy that he can give to his carvings, as well as the joy and life that he can feel with the people around him. Beautiful illustrati ...more
This is one of my favorite Christmas stories. For as long as I can remember my grandmother would read it to me during the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. Reading the Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey was almost looked forward to more than Christmas morning. It is the story of a widowed woodcarver who reluctantly carves a nativity for the Widow McDowell and her son who are new in the town. The gruff woodcarver's cold heart is slowly melted by the widow and the little boy's kindness tow ...more
A warm tale of love and Christmas.
“Christmas is pish-posh,” grumbles Jonathan Toomey. An expression which also sums up his view of life. He’s the best woodcarver in the valley, but all the villagers notice is that he keeps to himself. And he never smiles.

One day in early winter, the Widow McDowell comes to town. Unaware of his reputation, she calls on Jonathan with a request. Would he carve her a new crèche in time for Christmas? The catch: she wants her young son Thomas to observe the process. This simple consignment leads to a
Annette told me to read this several times, and yes, you'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to find it touching. I think I teared up a little at the story of the woodcarver who begins to overcome the loss of his wife and child when asked to carve a Nativity scene by a widow and her young son. It is a believable tale of a Scrooge-like character who is eventually thawed, though this story centers (somewhat lightly) around the idea of Jesus rather than personal demons. Definitely a longer text th ...more
A wonderful Christmas story! Made even more special because my 6 year-old grandson noticed that the Widow McDowell looks just like his Auntie, my daughter. The resemblance is uncanny! The detail in the illustrations makes me want to reach out and hold the figures Toomey is carving. The author's description of Toomey each time Widow McDowell and her son come to his door foreshadows his transformation. Well done on all counts.
Ruth Sophia
Wonderful illustrations are the perfect complement to this unique Christmas story

This is not a religious Christmas book, nor is it without tragedy (though there is a happy ending). The story does feel real, though, and is beautifully - almost lyrically told. The illustrations are top notch and really bring the story to life of the gloomy woodcarver and the boy who helped his spirit heal.
Francesca Scanlan
This, apart from Raymond Briggs's 'The Snowman' and 'Father Christmas', was my favourite Christmas book as a kid! The story I don't really remember, but what I do are the beautiful illustrations. My mum annoying gave it away a few years ago, and I couldn't for the life of me remember the name, so we've just spent the past half hour searching for it on the internet and finally found it!
I was asked to substitute in primary one week at Christmastime and the other teacher called to help had brought a stack of church-appropriate children's books. We went back and forth reading, and I curiously chose this one because of the beautiful cover. I was unprepared for the beautiful story that lay within the pages and was in tears by it's conclusion. I would love to own this book!
An absolute delight of a book. I have shared this with my own children as well as using it every Christmas with children at school. A very moving story, written with warmth and humour and the subtle change in the main character is great for discussion. A book which always brings a lump to the throat and tear to the eye - no matter how often you have read it.
Lluvia Almanza
This is a wonderful story to read aloud and share with anyone who wants to listen. The story has beautiful message and uses repetition to do so. The story ended was short and sweet, but filled with a powerful message. I haven't read picture books in a long time and I'm glad this was the one that brought me back to them. The illustrations in this book are beautiful.
A very nice childrens' Christmas story about a lonely man who is asked to do some wood carving for a widow and her son. Altho obstinate and distant, he gradually includes the son at his work table and begins to teach him the carving skills. By the end of the book, and Christmas, they are all friends.
A gruff and lonely woodcarver comes to a strange town and sets up his business. Though some say his work is the best in the valley, he never warms up to the people. The children call him Mr. Gloomy. At night he sits alone, staring into the fire.

Not long before Christmas a young widow and her son ask him to carve a manger scene. He agrees, though to him “Christmas is pish-posh”. He soon realizes that he might have gotten more than he anticipated, though, when young Thomas asks to watch him at wo
One of my most absolute favorite Christmas books of all time--beaten only by the account of the Savior's birth in Luke (and maybe The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.) But this one gets me everytime. An absolutely beautiful message. You know how President Monson reads A Christmas Carol every December? My Christmas couldn't be complete without reading this. Love the incredible illustrations and the CD with James Earl Jones reading as well. A favorite of my kids too.

I found this in Barnes and Noble yea
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Susan Wojciechowski was a children's librarian for many years. "Every December," she says, "I read the same two or three classic Christmas stories aloud to the children. I tried to find another one I wanted to read and couldn't. So I wrote THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY. I've never written anything that way before. It just came through me in a flood of inspiration and was finished in les ...more
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