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The Spider's Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story
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The Spider's Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Katrusya is devastated that her family cannot afford Christmas presents this year, but it simply wouldn't be Christmas without a tree. She soon finds the perfect one in the deepest part of the forest and decorates it with homemade ornaments. But the next day the tree is crawling with spiders! Luckily, Katrusya convinces her mother not to throw the tree away. When the famil ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2010 by Holiday House
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Kathryn
Jan 09, 2012 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kathryn by: Abigial A.
I really enjoyed this beautiful retelling of a Ukrainian Christmas story about how spiders made the first tinsel for the Christmas tree of a kind family. I love the message here about kindness to others (even spiders!) and the illustrations are just gorgeous.

I have kind of a fondness for stories about spiders in Christmas trees as I remember one Christmas as a child decorating my aunt and uncle's (real) tree when a nest of baby spiders hatched out. I'm afraid theirs didn't fare quite so well as
...more
Qwendy
This beautiful retelling of the classic Ukrainian Christmas story makes a welcome addition to any library collection. Katrusya is a wonderful role model for children. Instead of despairing that her family doesn't have enough money to exchange presents she agrees with her sister Anna's plan to exchange homemade presents instead, and she later ventures out to pick a free evergreen tree with her grandfather. Unfortunately, when the tree arrives home, Katrusya learns that hundreds of spiders have ma ...more
Amy
I liked The Spider's Gift. It captured the true spirit and meaning of Christmas, and showed how Christmas can still be wonderful and beautiful even if families don't have the money to do it all up in the commercialized way that has become so common. Good story to read to kids at Christmastime, especially if you're trying to teach them about Christmas that doesn't involve toy stores, mountains of presents, and mountains of money spent.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What I liked best about this traditional Ukrainian story was the kindness to tiny creatures--the baby spiders--shown by this family. Kindness bears rewards, and in this case the spiders reward the family well. I've read other stories about spiders and Christmas, but none quite like this one. Katya Krenina's illustrations looked authentic, which they should be since she is from the Ukraine (and I met her once!). I did find, however, that the story seemed to begin very abruptly, jumping into dialo ...more
Rachel (Sfogs)
A beautiful story of why it always pays to be kind!
Janet
Whhile te Goodreads info states this was published in 2007 this statement has to be a typo as the book says it is a first edition published in 2010. Anyway I love this spider theme found in a number of Christmas books. This one set in the Ukraine is lovely with the peasant family all contributing various symbols to the celebration. I was particularly touched by the placing of two embroidered cloths on the table--one for members of the family still living and one for those who have passed on. A l ...more
Rochelle
Summary: Determined not to allow her family's poverty to interfere with Christmas, a young girl secures a tree and finds herself rewarded on Christmas morning for an earlier act of kindness.

Things I liked: The story at the heart of this book appears to be a powerful and entertaining one.

Things I didn't like: This particular adaptation/version of the tale. The illustrations.
Carol
A lovely children's story based on a traditional folk tale from the Ukraine, but told in other European countries. I picked this up out of curiosity while walking past the children's section in the public library -- glad I did. An adult reading this story to a child might want to simplify the language, but this is a wonderful story worthy of retelling.
Courtney
Baby spiders have infested the tree-- yikes! I think this book really freaked hubby out and made him thankful we don't have a real tree. The story was very long to keep the attention of a preschooler or toddler. I think it would be better suited to a grade school Sunday school class.
Carmen
Beautifully worded and true meaning of xmas
Kenzie
This was a sad book then it turned into a miracle
Elisabeth W.  Rauch
A beautiful Ukrainian Christmas Folktale. It was enjoyable to read, and I think children would really like it, too.
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Eric A. Kimmel was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1946. He attended PS 193, Andries Hudde Junior High School, and Midwood High School. Brooklyn College was across the street from his high school, so he didn’t want to go there. He headed west, to Easton, Pennsylvania where he graduated from Lafayette College in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
Eric worked as an elementary school teache
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More about Eric A. Kimmel...
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