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To Every Thing There Is a Season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story
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To Every Thing There Is a Season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The story is simple, seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. As an adult he remembers the way things were back home on the farm on the west coast of Cape Breton. The time was the 1940s, but the hens and the cows and the pigs and the sheep and the horse made it seem ancient. The family of six children excitedly waits for Christmas and two-year-old Kenneth, who liked Ha ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published November 2nd 2004 by McClelland & Stewart
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  165 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a good short story that captured old Canada. The writing was melodic and simple.
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This story is deeply Nova Scotian, but it's also a nostalgic and gripping Christmas story like the ones you might hear at family gatherings on a winter's night, well-written and creative and unforgettable.
Purple Osprey
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really nice, well polished little story. It's short but it sets the scene and the mood really well, I love these kind of stories, it takes only a couple of sentences to pretty much describe the whole lives and futures of people. Truly enjoyable.
Gerry Burnie
Gerry B's Book Reviews -

To those who might not be familiar with Cape Breton Island, here is a brief orientation via Wikipedia:

Cape Breton Island is part of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The 10,311 km2 (3,981 sq mi) island accounts for 18.7% of the total area of Nova Scotia. Although physically separated from the Nova Scotia peninsula by the Strait of Canso, it is artificially connected to mainland Nova Scotia by the 1,385 m (4,544 ft) long rock-fill Canso
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like this author, who is good at bringing life to a historical Christmas of long ago. It shows the joy of waiting for a sibling to come home. It also shows a young boy who wants to continue believing. He clings to the hope of Santa. It is a short story, but well written and I believe I will want to read more by this author. The illustrator is also from Cape Breton, one of 14 children. The pictures tell the story as well and I'm glad that Scott gave me this book for Christmas today. We read it ...more
Sue Mosher
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Alistair MacLeod's writing and I was not disappointed with this evocative story of Christmas in Cape Breton. The accompanying drawings are nothing to sneeze at either. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Natasha Penney
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lyrical and poignantly celebratory. There is a timeless quality to it that transcends modernity and lacks a sentimental yet powerful lunch. Written by Alistair MacLeod and appearing in the Globe and Mail on December 24, 2977, it first appeared on book form in 1986 when it appeared in the collection “As Birds Bring Forth the Sun”. It is also beautifully illustrated by Peter Rankin with stunning pencil drawings that set the scene and enhance the story’s ability to lift you to a different place and ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Madame Jane
Set in Nova Scotia, this is a bittersweet tale of a Christmas long ago.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, canadian
This has to be the shortest book I have ever read. Ok story, nice illustrations.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely little short story.
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christmas readers
To Every Thing There Is a Season by Alistair MacLeod

A beautiful little book that I could relate to so well. This is a Christmas memory of the author, Alistair MacLeod, at the age of eleven on the threshold of leaving childhood behind. The story takes place on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia in 1940, on a small family farm. Snow season begins as early as October in Cape Breton. In the author's words, "My family had been there for a long, long time and so it seemed had I. And much of that time see
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
A lovely wee story of olden times and a Cape Breton Christmas. Memories of dressing in the icy cold and going to the wood stove to warm up fill me up as I too got to experience snatches of that as a grand daughter with Grandparents who lived far enough from town that they had no electricity or running water.
Having visited Cape Breton Island a few summers ago, I was amazed at how similar it felt to my own history.... in northern Ontario. The raw, rugged landscape. The musical gatherings.... brou
Rosie Shephard
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a really great short story for many reasons! I loved the writing style and all of the deeper meanings that the plot had.

The story is told from the perspective of an 11 year old boy and discusses the joy and discovery that comes along with Christmas. It also explores life in Cape Breton.

Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Charming Christmas story that focuses on a lovely memory of a 1940s holiday on Cape Breton that captures both a sense of the traditions of how the season was celebrated as well the experiences of a boy caught between the wonder of childhood and growing up
Wendell Hennan
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A short but sweet telling of a Cape Breton Christmas in the 1940's in Alistair's family. Rural life, including the animals in Christmas treats and capturing feelings of growing up, memories of Christmases past and excitement of life to come post as young adults.
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very wonderful short story for Christmas, with great illustrations.
I love this little story set a Christmas. I re-read it every year.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
heart warming quick read novel perfect for the season..coming of age novel + picturesque language...i can now imagine Nova Scotia of 1960s.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I made lots of personal connections to this book, being from a family of 11. It is a very short read and very worth it.
Michele Welter
rated it it was amazing
Dec 23, 2016
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Jul 21, 2016
john quigley
rated it liked it
Nov 27, 2015
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Feb 22, 2015
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Apr 23, 2013
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful Christmas story that says so much in such a short number of pages. Beautiful illustrations, too!
Alicia Koster
rated it liked it
Oct 14, 2012
Gerry B
rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2013
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Dec 28, 2014
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When MacLeod was ten his family moved to a farm in Dunvegan, Inverness County on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. After completing high school, MacLeod attended teacher's college in Truro and then taught school. He studied at St. Francis Xavier University between 1957 and 1960 and graduated with a BA and B.Ed. He then went on to receive his MA in 1961 from the University of New Brunswick and his ...more