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Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico
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Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,161 ratings  ·  173 reviews
Published over 30 years ago, Nine Days to Christmas remains fresh and relevant. Ceci's first Christmas posada party and pinata have made her Mexican town come alive for generations of readers. "The youngest child will be completely transported by this lovely story".--The Atlantic. Three-color illustrations. ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by Puffin (first published September 18th 1959)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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This is part of my Wintertime tales. It is a Christmas story and it's a very different kid of Christmas story. It takes place in a village in Mexico. It is about, Ceci, a little girl gets her very own pinata for her first Posadas. These are special Christmas parties 8 days before Christmas, one per day at a different house. They include a pinata. Ceci picks out a star. There is like a myth with this star.

It is a wonderful story. I didn't think a whole lot of the art. There was a whole lot of bei
Annie ⚜️
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Yes, we're making our way through the Caldecott winners. I'm not usually a fan of the three color illustration style but it felt very "of the time" which would have been late 50s, early 60s. Beautifully told story of a little girl's first posada (celebration leading up to Christmas). It was engaging, enlightening and sweet without being preachy or cloyingly sweet. I wasn't sure I'd like it when I first picked it up but we really enjoyed it and it was refreshing to read a non-Santa-centric Christ ...more

A charming, sweet story about the posadas (special parties leading up to Christmas) and little Ceci getting to hold her very first one, with all the excitement and impatience that comes along with waiting for something special. The most exciting part of this is that she will have a pinata and gets to choose her very own. It's a gentle story, perhaps a bit overlong (especially for those used to today's picture books that zip along) but I savored it. Though have no experience to judge, it
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Christmas Stories with a Mexican Cultural Setting
Awarded a Caldecott Medal in 1960, this lovely Christmas tale from co-authors Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida follows the story of young Ceci, a Mexican girl who is excited to learn that she is to host her very first posada, or Christmas party. Full of eager anticipation, Ceci has many exciting experiences in the days leading up to the big party, culminating in accompanying her mother to the market to select a pinata. When the posada finally comes however, Ceci isn't sure how she feels about ...more
Rebekah Morris
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas
I was looking forward to a story about how Christmas is celebrated in Mexico. This didn’t have much of anything about that. Instead it is about a little girl waiting for the first posada. She hears piñatas talking to her, and the story mentions her thinking that fairies and goblins had created the Christmastime market. And it ends with her convinced that she gave the world a new star because of the piñata she had picked.
Not impressed.
Apr 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Nine Days to Christmas is, in my opinion, right up there with the very best Caldecott Medal winners and Christmas picture books. All throughout, I was truly amazed by the fabulous complexity of the drawings created by Marie Hall Ets, and by the sensitive story that evokes a memorable sense of the magic surrounding Christmas.

Ceci, a young girl living in Mexico, is excited about her upcoming posada celebration, her first one. It will be held nine days before Christmas, and means a whole new arra
Book Concierge
The subtitle is: A Story of Mexico, and this picture book details the preparations and festivities surrounding las posadas, a procession and celebration of Joseph and Mary seeking shelter in Bethlehem. When Ceci’s mother tells her that she is now old enough to stay up for the festivities, she promises that Ceci will be able to have her very own posada, complete with a piñata!

This is a charming story, and the illustrations by Ets are wonderfully detailed. They really took me to the streets of Me
Elizabeth S
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. At first glance, the artwork was totally not my style. But as I read and really looked at the pictures, I noticed and enjoyed the delicate detail of the pictures, yet with the simple feel that supports the story nicely.

And the story, oh, it is cute. And I really mean that. The little girl, kindergarten age, wants to know what it is like for the ducks in the pond, so she fills the bathtub and gets in and tries quacking... and it almost makes me want
Wow I really enjoyed reading this story! First of all because I am Mexican and I know all about the Christmas tradition. Ceci the main character which is a little girl made the story fun. She couldn't wait for the day of her posada to come. I really liked how she chose a star pinata for her posada because like the story explained, the star lead the three wise men to Jesus. This story brought me good memories and I really liked how I can relate to this story. Overall, I really like the whole stor ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Didn't plan this but what perfect timing to read this book now! Also it is my 2nd to last Caldecott to read, only one more to go!! ...more
This fabulous picture book might seem a bit outdated, but it does a great job of telling an authentic story based in Mexico in English, explaining a couple of traditions like 'las posadas' and 'las piñatas' to children unfamiliar with how Mexicans celebrate Christmas. But the religious information is outweighed by the descriptions of a traditional Christmas in Mexico.

In the story, the protagonist Ceci is awaiting her first 'posada', a pre-Christmas party which is thrown by a different person, in
1960 Caldecott winner

I enjoyed some aspects of this book very much. Having lived in Texas many years and in San Antonio specifically, it is fun to see Los Pasadas portrayed in this way. There are many good things about this book and it was probably pretty amazing for its time, but there are certainly better ways to learn about the Mexican culture than this book now. There were things here and there that just struck me as being not quite okay.

The dedication actually started me on the wrong foot
I liked most of the artwork in this Caldecott Medal book, but really didn't care for the style of the piñatas which seemed cartoonish and a bit out of place next to the drawings of people and everyday scenes. I enjoyed the story and reading about the Mexican Christmas tradition of Las Posadas from the point of view of a little girl, though we read it a bit late since it takes place before Christmas! ...more

The Caldecott Award winner in 1960 was a co-production between an author of Mexican heritage and an American illustrator. Unfortunately it is out of print.

Ceci is a kindergartner who is finally old enough to stay up for a Mexican Christmas celebration called "Posadas," celebrated for nine days at the homes of different families with the final party on Christmas Eve.

This lucky little girl gets to have her own pinata! The story covers her anticipation and excitement, a day o
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my absolute favorite holiday books. Naturally, the art is similar to Gilberto and the Wind with taupe backgrounds, pencil drawings accented with white and yellow. This story however also uses pink which adds orange and browns to the spectrum as well. The story is set in Mexico in the 50's and is about a little girl's first posada. I like it for it's depiction of culture as well as having a more universal story about imagination and love that is not unlike the Velveteen Rabbit. One ...more
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful chalk drawings on gray paper. A long story (picture) book about a little girl in a well to do family in Mexico city. (the maid figures prominently in the story.) Little girl is going to have her first Posada and she is so excited. Very clear picture of daily life in this town. Sweet ending.
Dec 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Another holiday themed children's book. The illustrations for this one are deceptively simple and remarkably evocative. The story wasn't that interesting to me but might engage a child or even another reader. For more and for further exploration suggestions:
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Don't ask me why this was one of my favorites as a kid, except it is magic. ...more
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
Some problematic stereotypes, but, likely groundbreaking for the time. It seems to be a bit hit or miss with some of Mexican heritage not having a problem with the book and others upset by the number of sombreros, sandals and so on.

The whole thing was just sort of 'meh' for me. It felt like there was an attempt to get it right and it's not as crazy bad as say "Tikki Tikki Tembo", but, it doesn't meet the expectation for modern multicultural literature.

Definitely quite wordy, illustrations are
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
i. Summary: Nine days to Christmas tells the story of a five-year-old girl named Ceci. Ceci was about to have her first posada which is a special Mexican Christmas party celebrated nine days before Christmas. The young girl is very excited about her party, but she is even more excited about selecting a piñata for it. It is very hard for the young girl to impatiently wait for this moment, yet towards the end, it was totally worth it – the posada and the piñata were all a success.

ii. Major Themes
Kiah Albritton
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: exam-1
Written and illustrated by Marie Hall Ets, Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico won the 1960 Caldecott Medal. This was my first read of the book; I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and illustrations. It was a beautiful tale of young Mexican girl, Ceci, and her first Christmas party. The intended audience for this book is kindergarten-second grade children. Although, it’s not a chapter book, there are multiple paragraphs of text on most pages.I do think the text is too heavy for a kindergar ...more
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico
5 out of 5 Stars

The book was illustrated in a unique way. Pencil and charcoal drawings were used so that there were varying shades of black and gray. Parts of each illustration were brightly colored pink, orange, and yellow. All illustrations were on a creamy colored background, while the text popped out at the reader on a solid white background. Because the images were drawn and shaded with pencils or charcoal, there was a great sense of depth and dim
Marybeth Batie
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-307
Nine Days to Christmas is a story about a Mexican girl named Ceci who is going to have her first posada, which will take place nine days before Christmas day. When she goes to the market, the piñatas come to life and she must chose one of them for her posada, and she chose one that represented the Christmas star of Bethlehem. When the party happens she doesn’t want to break the piñata, but then realizes that breaking it gives her and the piñata a special connection. This is a great holiday child ...more
Demi Burns
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Nine Days to Christmas is a Mexican story book. It is about a little girl named Ceci who has to wait nine days until her posada; a special Christmas party. You follow the little girl through the nine days while she waits for the special Christmas party. Finally, on the day before the party, Ceci and her mom go to the market to look for a piñata. Ceci is overwhelmed with all of the piñata choices; rabbits, bears, elephants, donkeys, and many more. But there is one piñata in particular that stands ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
In this story a girl is excited about getting a piñata for her party but is worried she won’t get one so she talks to her doll Gabina. When her mom takes her to the store to finally get a piñata, she brings her doll with her to pick one out. She falls in love with the gold star piñata and brings it home but when it’s finally time to break it, she doesn’t want anyone touching it. As she watches from behind a tree her piñata being broken, she hears a star from up in the tree reassuring her that he ...more
Stefanie Burns
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
Long book for a picture book. At times it feels as it is a list of events that are all unrelated. The story starts with young Ceci learning she will have a posada before Christmas this year- her first one. Then the story goes on to talk about what she does each day: watch people walk by, pretend to be a duck (??? No idea what this has to do with a Christmas party), etc. After that, the story gets back on track and Ceci picks out her favorite piñata for the party. The story ends with her posada.

Xiaoxiao Zhu
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ceci's first time to market to get a posada which is used to broke at Christmas Day made her so excited. I have the same experience with her. I can still remember the how excited I was that day, I couldn't fall asleep at night and just thought what I want to buy tomorrow. So the first time Ceci chose a big star and put lots of good things in it though she didin't want anyone to break her big star. So she was so sad that others broke her star. However, miracle happened, the big star became the sm ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This book was an interesting read because it was a look into a different culture and a different Christmas tradition that I did not know about. It was about a little girl named Ceci who is kindergarten aged, and has been promised that she gets to have a party (a Posada) nine days before Christmas, which in Mexico (where the story takes place) it is a tradition to have parties nine days before Christmas. The book then goes on to discuss the fact that Ceci wants the biggest and best piñata for her ...more
Nicole Grote
Ceci is a five-year-old girl who lives in Mexico and has never been to a posada. Her mother tells her that now she is old enough to have one. You see Ceci waiting 21 days till she can finally have her posada and pick out her own Piñata. She picks out a golden star that she thinks is so beautiful. It is finally the day of her posada and it’s time to break the piñata. Her cousins break it which makes Ceci cry since she loved her piñata. Ceci hears a whisper and realizes that her broken piñata turn ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: award-winners
The first thing that I noticed in this book was the illustrations as the pictures are all drawn in pencil with punches of color added in. These colors add a warmth and charm to the illustrations. Something interesting was the color choice. All these colors are warm color's, yellow, orange, red. It was interesting reading this book as it is about a girl who is having her first posada. In Mexico these are special parties held each night at a different house tell Christmas. This book is a good book ...more
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Marie Hall Ets was an American writer and illustrator who is best known for children's picture books. She attended Lawrence College, and in 1918, Ets journeyed to Chicago where she became a social worker at the Chicago Commons, a settlement house on the northwest side of the city. ...more

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