Reviews for Silver Packages : An Appalachian Christmas Story

Horn Book Guide Reviews 1998
Every Christmas, Frankie eagerly awaits the arrival of the train that brings presents to the children of Appalachian coal towns. Frankie grows up to be a doctor and returns to his community in a continuation of the cycle of giving. Photorealistic watercolors sometimes seem too staged, but convey a strong sense of place in this preachy but appealing package, the text of which was originally published in Rylant's collection [cf2]The Children of Christmas[cf1]. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

School Library Journal Reviews 1997 October
Full-page watercolor paintings decorate this warm, sentimental story loosely based on actual events. Rylant traces the origins of an Appalachian "Christmas Train" that travels through the mountains each year on December 23 to a rich man who wished to repay a debt of kindness he had received many years before. He faithfully returns and tosses silver packages from the caboose to the coal-town children who wait by the tracks. One such child is Frankie, who longs for a doctor's kit every year; instead he gets much-needed socks or mittens along with small toys. As an adult, he moves back to the town to live and work, having fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. With her clear, balanced, and well-paced storyteller's voice, the author builds the anticipation and excitement that the children and feel at the train's annual arrival. Although the heroic profile of this child-turned-man makes him more of a symbol than a real person, his story is capably told. The illustrations provide panoramic views of the Appalachian countryside, with deep nighttime blues and wintry colors, strengthening the sense of place. A well-rendered reflection on the importance of giving and sharing. Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews