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The True Gift

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  535 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
All year long Lily and Liam look forward to Christmas on their grandparents' farm. It's always the perfect trip -- walking to the lilac library, trimming the tree, giving gifts. But this year, thanks to a white cow alone in the meadow, things will be different. This Christmas, Lily and Liam will find out the meaning of a true gift.

From one of our most beloved authors com
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Simon Schuster Audio (first published September 14th 2009)
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Luisa Knight
Patricia MacLachlan is a wonderful author. I actually didn't like the story, but I finished reading it through to the end because of her great story-telling; she has an incredible knack for sucking you in.

The story: A title like "The True Gift" shouldn't be bestowed on a story that is devoted to a cow. I'm not an animal person to begin with, but having such a strong emphasis on a cow, and making that cow not lonely for Christmas, is pretty ridiculous. I wish it would have been an old man or woma
Patricia MacLachlan is a beautiful writer. I’ll read anything she has written!
Liam and his sister Lily spend time with their grandparents at Christmastime every year. They've earned money for presents and brought many books with them to while away the time until Christmas. But something threatens to spoil the holiday. White Cow is alone in the field since her companion donkey has been returned to his own owner. Liam is concerned that she is lonely. Thus begins the heartwarming tale of a Christmas gift that seems impossible. This short book for children is a delightful rem ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Abigail A.
A brother and sister go to stay with their grandparents for Christmas, just like always. But, this year, their grandparents' cow, White Cow, is all alone in the field because the donkey who used to graze with her has gone back to her family. Young Liam feels a connection with White Cow and senses that she is lonely and he wants to do something to help her. Even if it means spending less time at the beautiful "Lilac Library" (where the children usually love to go during the Christmas holiday), ev ...more
Enchantress  debbicat ☮
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-reads
Oh my goodness this was a nice surprise. I was in the car today and had a bit of a drive. I wanted something holidayish. Clicked on the library app on my phone and did a "browse" of the holiday books being offered. This one came up. I was not familiar with it. BUT....I love me some Patricia (Sarah Plain and Tall) MacLachlan. Yes. I do. So I nabbed it thinking I could not go wrong.

And I didn't. A sweet read. Noticing "White Cow" on the cover also was a hint I would like this little book. White Co
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I kept meaning to read this book since it came out as it is in my library, after all. So at long last, I just sat down during a quiet evening shift and read it cover to cover, enjoying Floca's illustrations nearly as much as MacLachlan's writing.
Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised by the ending but my mushy old heart was truly touched. I had to leave the desk and hide for a while as I have been cursed with one of those complexions that turns deep red and stays red for a long time after
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-with-kids
Not as good as her other books, but the kids liked it.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a very beautiful book!:)
Nov 26, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
MacLachlan here writes a Christmas story about a brother and sister who find the meaning of Christmas through helping a cow - yup, a cow - lead a less lonely life. MacLachlan is always a dependable writer, and this book is a good selection for kids in grades 3-5 looking for a Christmas story, but there isn't a whole lot of "there" there in this slim little Christmas book.
I did not care for this brief book, which I read aloud to my daughter. The characters, and the brother/sister relationship at the center of the book, did not ring true, and the climactic Christmas Eve surprise seemed very improbable. (I have no particular fondness for cows, which probably removes me from the intended audience for this book.)
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animal
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Sweet short story.
A beautiful story, poignant and heartwarming. I liked the character journeys, and I thought the siblings and grandmother were surprisingly well-developed for so short a story. I also liked the realism; this story lacks so many cliches that abound in Christmas literature. Here, there are no outlandishly tragic circumstances, no misers-turned-saint, no dead parents, and no miracles. And yet, despite this, all the beauty and heartache of the holidays is captured in this straightforward and unexpect ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My youngest and I read this slim novela in a single sitting; we just couldn't stop reading. The story may be slight and the language spare, but the actions of the two determined and empathetic children leave an impact as they share a true gift, one that can receive no return. It's a lovely holiday read.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I nice early reader but, for literary content and great story, it was okay. I wasn't thrilled! I was disappointed as a Patricia MacLachan story, (early chapter book or not.. a good story can be told simply)
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was a treat, and a pleasure to read. A nice, quick pace. No fluff, but a good little story indeed.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
Very cute story and children who are sensitive and like animals will love it. Not quite a great story but still a gentle read with a kind message
Laura Campbell
Christian and Julia - 3 stars (Julia might have liked it more as she read ahead and finished it.)
Zacky - 4 stars
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good bedtime read for child and/or adult. An adorable story about compassion, kindness, love, and doing the right thing for others; both animals and people. Beautiful illustrations.
Bonnie Westmark
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book!
Monica Purwanti
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very emotional for a very short book. It’s a great Christmas book for kids to read.
Brooklyn Jones
This is a cute story about being selfless and determined. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is sweet. This would be a great starter chapter book for younger children.
Jojobooks Higgins
A sweet chapter book about a lonely cow and a boy who loves her. Read aloud with the boys over 4 nights. We all enjoyed!
Katie Lewis theriault
Story was a little weak for what it was, but good for the age group.
Emma Grace
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meant to add this book the other day... :| Sweet book! :)
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really hopeful that this book was going to be a good story but I didn't get anything out of it.
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Patricia MacLachlan's soft, endlessly gentle writing style has always seemed to be the perfect potential vehicle by which to tell a Christmas tale. After decades of producing some of the most enduring classics of our time in the realms of both picture books and chapter books, Patricia MacLachlan has given us just such a holiday story.

Liam is a wonder. He views the word around him with the eyes of a true artist, gauging the depths of the feelings of those he comes in contact with and allowing h
Linda Lipko
As the sun streamed through the window this morning, I took this book off the shelf and spent delightful time reading another of MacLachlan's lovely books.

This author has a special way of softly unfolding the story. I've read most of the books of this Newbery award winning author and she never fails to disappoint.

Lily and Liam look forward each year to the Pre-Christmas visit to their grandparent's farm. Avid readers, the two love the slow pace of farm life in the winter, of time to read, time t
C.C. Thomas
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Patricia MacLachlan is far and above one of my favorite writers. Her writing style is the true gift of this story. Every book of hers that I've read has broken my heart a little, in the sweetest way, and this was no exception. Her works are so lyrical, more like poetry than prose and getting swept away by her words is so easy, like swinging in a hammock with the gentlest of breezes.

In the story, brother and sister Liam and Lily are going to their grandparent's farm to spend the holiday season. I
When Lily and Liam go to stay with their grandparents during the week leading up to Christmas, Liam becomes troubled by the presence of White Cow. She is alone in the paddock. Does she get lonely? Is she sad? He feels that she must be, and therefore, he wants to find her a friend. They don't have a lot of money, but when a family advertises that they want to sell their calf, Liam knows that is the friend for White Cow. So, he sells all his books to the used book store to gain the extra money the ...more
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Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massach ...more
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