Reviews for Together at Christmas

Booklist Reviews 2012 November #2
Ten cute little mice are huddled and shivering in the snow on Christmas Eve. One by one, they follow a host of temptations to get warm, scrambling to a tent of bark, a clump of pillow-soft moss, and more: "One mouse notices a puff-- / a gentle burst of cattail fluff. / Quick! Before it starts to float, / he weaves himself an overcoat." After each departing mouse finds a cozy spot, Spinelli writes that they are "snug alone." However, "Somehow it doesn't feel quite right / to be without one's friends this night." So they pile into a log, maybe a bit colder but at least together. Adults can explore emotions with toddlers by noting how each mouse's frown turns into a smile upon finding comfort. The book has a rich vocabulary (refuge, squint, toppled, nestled, hunched) that, for the most part, works within Spinelli's rhyming scheme. Meanwhile, Lee's use of shadow and light befits such a seasonal offering. Nothing especially deep here, just a perfectly pleasant celebration of family closeness. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
"Ten little mice / huddle in the snow / on Christmas Eve." One by one, each mouse finds individual shelter from the winter storm, but they aren't happy until they find a place--a berry-filled hollow log--where "there's room for everyone." Engaging double-page spreads depict a snowy nocturnal landscape, while the rhymed text gently moves the quiet narrative forward.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
Ten tiny mice find themselves outside in the snow on Christmas Eve, seeking shelter and companionship. At first the mice are all huddled together, just trying to survive in the snow. One by one, the mice venture away from the group, with each finding a different type of refuge. Some of the shelters are obvious choices, such as a fallen branch or an open milkweed pod, while others are more fanciful, like a quickly made overcoat from cattail fluff. Before long, the mice miss each other, so they creep back together for singing and dancing in the snow before moving on to a new shelter together within a hollow log. Their group home even has some hidden berries for a midnight mouse-friend feast. The short, rhyming text with just a few lines per page sets a hushed, poetic tone, complementing the late-night setting. Lee's illustrations use a muted nighttime palette of deep blues and browns, but moonlight and starlight shining on the snow illuminate the scenes. His mouse characters are appealing, appearing to move naturally, even while dancing and singing in the snow. The group sheltering together against the elements has echoes of Jan Brett's The Mitten (1989), but this time the protective structure has room for all to take cover in safety. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #2

Lee's luminous paintings set the scene for Spinelli's (The Perfect Christmas) graceful poem about 10 mice trying to stave off the cold on Christmas Eve. Hushed rhymed verse counts down as, one by one, the mice find warmth in such refuges as an abandoned nest, a milkweed pod, and an acorn shell. But "somehow it doesn't feel quite right/ to be without one's friends this night," a dilemma the mice solve by "Singing carols in the snow./ Giggling under mistletoe," and finding a spot big enough for all of them. The glow of moonlight is almost tangible, as it illuminates the snowy landscape dramatically. A cozy holiday book for icy nights. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

PreS-Gr 1--Spinelli's gentle rhyming countdown starts out with 10 shivering mice huddled together in the snow on Christmas Eve. One by one, they leave the group to find various shelters. After all have found refuge, however, they realize that they do not want to be alone on this particular night, so the little creatures venture into the cold once more to cavort and sing. During these antics, one of the mice spies a hollow log with an ample stash of colorful berries, where they can all nest safely together. Successfully avoiding both religious references and iconic materialism, this soothing read-aloud is brought to life by the soft-hued, pastoral illustrations. Lee's subtle interplay of light and shadow gives depth to the visual drama as the charming mice interact with nature and one another.--Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library

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