The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Book and CD
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The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Book and CD

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4.41 of 5 stars 4.41  ·  rating details  ·  5,888 ratings  ·  204 reviews
The spirit of Christmas heals a sorrowing woodcarver's heart in this
splendid edition of a holiday classic, complete with a CD recording
masterfully narrated by James Earl Jones.


The spirit of Christmas heals a sorrowing woodcarver's heart in this splendid edition of a holiday classic, complete with a CD masterfully narrated by James Earl Jones.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 9th 2004 by Candlewick (first published January 1st 1996)
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Mj
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....more
Erin
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
Kathryn
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
Mary
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
booklady
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...more
Audrey
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
Tracy
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.
Marcelle
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.
Vishy
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.
Kay
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!
Leslie
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!
Maddy
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!
Sandi
A warm tale of love and Christmas.
Renee
“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...more
Becky
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
Debby
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.
Rachel
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...more
Jen
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...more
Madison Evans
A book that celebrates the true spirit of Christmas. A grieving widower is brought out of his gloom by a young boy and his mother. Yep, sounds like a plot of many a romance novel - but this is an illustrated story for older children.
Jenny
This is one of my all time favorite Christmas books, and I love reading it to my children. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! And the story is lovely. Jonathan Toomey's wife and son died and ever since he has been cranky and kept to himself. But one day he is asked to carve a Nativity set for Mrs. McDowell and her son Thomas. Thomas keeps telling Mr. Toomey what he is doing wrong, and slowly his heart begins to soften until the miracle occurs. I believe Christmas miracles, both small and...more
Bree
Notes:
sort of a Lifetime movie in storybook format
gorgeous art
the only problem for us was the seemingly uncharacteristic hand-holding scene on the last page -- comes to suddenly for the tempo of the story
Trace
This is the second year that we read this precious story. I think its become one of our very favorite Christmas stories. This year we followed along in the book as we listened to the accompanying cd read by James Earl Jones. ABSOLUTELY beautiful. The storyteller has impeccable timing and it was a thoroughly wonderful feast for the senses: a poignant story with lush, beautiful illustrations and a warm deep voice telling this heartwarming story. Add in the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree, a w...more
Betsy
A heart-warming story that really should be read every Christmas. It's almost too sweet for other times of the year. But I liked it.
Ema
I read this book to my kids many times and they enjoy it year round, but especially at Christmas time. There is something very thoughtful about the flow of each page as one event is connected to the next which I find very satisfying. It's a beautiful story, a tad sad so that I had to omit/alter some details for my young listeners, but very endearing and has a happy ending just in time for Christmas.
Linda Dixon
Beautiful story o the receiving of grace for abroken man, through the love of a little boy. A story for all ages.
JaNeal
This is a book I will definitely be adding to my Christmas collection. It is a satisfying story that shows real change and growth in the characters. The Christmas nativity is at the center making this a book the celebrates the true meaning of Christmas

Honestly, I put off reading this book because I thought it would be trite and over-sentamentalized (what does that say about me?). I should have trusted a generous following better than that. This book deserves it's following (including a new play...more
Kate
Sometimes I see children who used to be in my class and the thing they remember most about me is, "Remember when you read us that book and you cried?" A touching story of a sad man who's experienced a loss and learns to love again. Beautiful paintings by P.J. Lynch accompany the story. Rock-star teacher, Holly, introduced me to this book and also gave it to me as a gift.

About the curly wooden sheep from his Nativity set, seven year-old Thomas says, "My sheep looked happy..." "...They knew they w...more
Rosa Cline
This is an excellent book so moving and emotional! It's actually an older children's book but if I had to read it out loud I honestly don't think I could without having to stop and compose myself again after crying. Even though this is a Christmas story I think it would be wonderful to pick up any time of year that you feel alone and 'lost'.... The illustrations that go with the story are just as wonderful as the story itself.
Annie
Dec 14, 2007 Annie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christmas lovers
Shelves: childrens
A book that celebrates the true spirit of Christmas. A grieving widower is brought out of his gloom by a young boy and his mother. Yep, sounds like a plot of many a romance novel - but this is an illustrated story for older children.
Mr Toomey (known to the village children as Mr Gloomy) is asked to carve a replacement nativity scene for a recently arrived widow and her children. Over time the two visit him and the young boy offers advice on how the pieces should look.
It is lovely. And I'm so ple...more
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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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