Cole Family Christmas was an absolute delight to read. Just one look at the cover and I knew I was in for a treat. It is rated as a reading level of ages 9-12 but any adult would enjoy this little book too. It’s a short book at 74 pages but definitely enough to keep the kid’s interested in a good, old fashioned story of the old days. The illustrations by Jennifer Julich are absolutely wonderful. Looking at them takes you right into the lives of the Cole family; they are just beautiful.
Another thing that makes this story even better is that it is true. It is based on Hazel Cole Kendle’s family’s remembrances of this one Christmas they shared and what it meant to them. Hazel is the last surviving member of the Cole family that the novel is about which makes it special in itself.
The Cole’s, a coal miner family, live in Benham, Kentucky up in the hills. This Christmas the nine Cole children get to sit down with the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogue -The Wish Book -to choose a gift they would most like to have. This is a real treat for them as they are a poor family and there just isn’t the money for store bought gifts. Of course they are excited!
The story moves on as the Cole family prepares for Christmas. Along the way mishaps happen, a snow storm descends and Papa doesn’t come home on Christmas Eve worrying the whole family. Christmas morning does arrive and ultimately the Cole children, really the whole family, is surprised by how the gifts given from the heart instead of the store bought ones are the gifts that turn out to be the most special.
I found this story such a pleasure to read. It reminded me of Christmas stories my parents tell from growing up on the farm. They didn’t have money so there weren’t gifts, just maybe a little candy and a good Christmas meal and yet they were happy. The Sears Wish Book also held a special place in both of their farm houses too. Today, it seems, there is so much stuff available that I wonder if we sometimes miss the true meaning of Christmas which for me is love and family.
This book is packed full of heartwarming family and Christmas memories. I’m going to keep this one on the shelf and read it every year at Christmas. It’s the perfect read to share with your children this Christmas or just to enjoy for yourself! You can also visit the Cole Family Christmas website here to learn more about the book and browse around-it’s really a delightful site.
Many thanks to Lisa Roe, Online Publicist for this awesome book. I really, really enjoyed it and it will definitely be a Christmas treasure in my family for years to come.