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The Christmas Miracle Of Jonathan Toomey
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The Christmas Miracle Of Jonathan Toomey

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  9,281 Ratings  ·  298 Reviews
As full of wonder as Christmas itself, this is a story that will not long be forgotten, one that will be read and treasured for many Christmases to come. A woodcarver's broken and bitter heart warms to the spirit of the season, when he is approached by a widow who asks him to carve a new creche in time for Christmas--and allow her young son to watch. Full color.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published 1996 by Scholastic Inc.
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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.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
Dec 06, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
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.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
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.
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas-books
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.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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: christmas, grandkids
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.
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable Christmas read for our family. We had the audio cd read my James Earl Jones, which was a nice break for mom. It is a sweet story about a young boy, his mother and the nativity of the birth of Christ changed a man's heartened heart.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Christmas stories ... maybe my favorite. The fact that this is a story about a skilled craftsman captured my attention along with the art.
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
A warm tale of love and Christmas.
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
A beautiful, touching story of redemption and healing with gorgeous illustrations. A Christmas classic.
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
Adams Eagles
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-2018

Aldo G.

Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley . He keeps to himself though and never smiles or laughs. No one knows that a good tiny carving a white blanket and a portrait of the wife and child he’s lost lie hidden in a drawer he never opens .

I like that it has no bad people because the people were nice people. I like that this book has no violence because I don't like violence. I like that it has not that much people because if there are a lot of people I would have to re
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family, children-4-8
What a wonderful book! "Miracle" caught my eye on the library shelf - in September, no less! - with its beautiful artwork. I finally read it out loud to two of my children (6 and 8) this evening, and had to swallow hard several times before I could finish. It's an incredibly touching story of the redemptive, transformative power of the incarnation.
I don't think they really caught on to why the wood-carver wouldn't let the widow sit in his rocking chair or use his table cloth, or even that it wa
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful illustrations and a very charming story. It truly exemplifies the meaning of Christmas - sharing love with each other. It is a fairly simple story, but there is an awful lot of context underneath the simple words. On one hand, the deep, terrible pain of loss, and the slow, quiet, rebirth of love in that hardened heart. On the other hand, the soft, gentle, selfless love of a mother, and innocent, curious joy of a child. Definitely a book that deserves to be on the bookshelf!
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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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