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The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
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The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  10,434 ratings  ·  375 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 1995)
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4.42  · 
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 ·  10,434 ratings  ·  375 reviews

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This book came out the year I was 13, and I remember reading through it while browsing in the Christian bookstore. I wanted my parents to buy it for me, but of course they weren't too interested in buying a $10+ picture book for a 13-year-old who could read three adult books in a single afternoon. Thereafter, for the following two years, I'd make it a point to find a copy and read it at some point during the Christmas season.

Definitely recommended.
Davyne DeSye
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this book at a school book sale years and years ago. I read it while standing there and knew I had to buy it when I found tears in my eyes at the end. So lovely!

This is the story of Jonathan Toomey -- a man the village children call Mr. Gloomy. Jonathan is a wonderful wood carver, but a very sad man -- for good reason. He has lost his wife and child to illness.

One day, a widow and her son come to Jonathan with a special request. While moving into the village, they had lost a precious Chr
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
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
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not nearly as saccharine as I feared. I'm definitely glad I read it. The people feel authentic, and the story plausible. Well-told. Recommended.
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute beautiful book. How have I never found this Christmas Story before. Wonderful story and illustrations.
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
A nice Christmas tale of how a grieving widower meets a widow and her son through him carving a nativity scene. Realistic and detailed illustrations. Slightly repetitive and predictable though.

My daughter commented that the high point of the story for her was seeing the nativity scene finished and set out together but this was shown on a double page spread with the fold going through the middle of the scene, which is shame.
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-ya, seasonal
The story is sweet and simple, but the beautifully detailed illustrations lift this book to 4 stars for me.
Alina Maria Ciobanu
A beautiful, touching story, whose text and illustrations convey the message of Christmas in a wonderful way.
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 nice story about a woodcarver who is grumpy because his wife and child died some time earlier. A pretty widow lady and her son show up at his door and ask him to carve a manger scene. Of course, Mr. Toomey becomes a nice guy again and at the end of the story goes to church with the widow lady and her son.

I sort of think this is the sort of story that adults will appreciate more than most children...... unless your kid is into stories that sort of feel like made for tv movies.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2016 - Read with Naomi.
Mal Kelly
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone in the Market for Christmas Tales
Recommended to Abigail by: Kathryn
Known as "Mr. Gloomy" in his small New England village, woodcarver Jonathan Toomey was a man who had no time for conversation, and no tolerance for the games of children. Enveloped in sorrow, at the death of his wife and son some years before, he had withdrawn from the world, devoting himself to work, and avoiding all human contact. And then one wintry day, the Widow McDowell and her young son, Thomas, knocked at his door, and commissioned a wooden crèche for Christmas. Slowly working their way ...more
Tracey the Bookworm
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas, new2me
Every Christmas I buy my daughter a Christmas book. To help me make my choice I borrow Christmas books from the local library. This is the first for this year and it is a possible on my to buy list.

A sweet story of how service to others and allowing children into our lives can bring about the miracle of healing for one with a broken heart. This is very apt at Christmas when we are reminded to let the Christ child into our lives and through service to be healed.
More moving than I expected. Great illustrations. Authors shows (instead of tells) well. I appreciated the circular structure at the end (the figurines are described in the words that Thomas had described them).
Rose Tussing
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pillar of my childhood. It wasn't really Christmas until Mom read us this book. Beautiful story and breathtaking illustrations.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas-books
This book almost made me cry, it's lovely!
Leigh Van
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great story of healing but I’m not sure my girls understood the underlying grief and where it came from. But they enjoyed following the nativity as it was carved!
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of the power of love in the transformation of the heart of a broken man. A must read for adults and children.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read every year! My all-time favorite children's Christmas story
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jo Ann
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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!
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grandkids, christmas
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.
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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