Ruby’s Christmas Gifts by Nancy Oswald

Ruby’s Christmas Gifts by Nancy Oswald
Publisher: Filter Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Holiday, Childrens
Length: Short story (30 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

It’s Christmas time in 1896 Cripple Creek, Colorado, and Ruby May Oliver and her donkey, Maude, roam the streets in search of Maude’s missing foal. Along the way, Ruby comes upon four people in need of gifts—gifts she discovers she can give. This gentle tale, enhanced by the evocative illustrations of Nathaniel Jensen, is a great read-aloud or independent read for grades 2 thru 4. Readers who have enjoyed the antics and adventures of Ruby May Oliver and her donkey, Maude, through the award-winning Ruby and Maude Adventure series, are in for a treat with this heartwarming story as Ruby enters more and more deeply into the true spirit of Christmas.

Ruby is getting ready for Christmas. Her father has gone to town to get a surprise so she bundles up and goes out to look at the stars in the sky. She’s having fun naming the star constellations and then their mule gets upset and interrupts her. When she checks Maude out, she finds Willie is missing. She takes Maude and her cat on the hunt for the baby mule.
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Nathaniel Jensen is the illustrator for this picture book and he does a beautiful job. The historical settings remind me of when I was a girl. The story and the graphics meld together faultlessly.

She finds Willie has headed into town. She leaves her father a note and heads out. When they reach the town, she and Maude help an old lady take her luggage to the hotel. The woman gives her a pin shaped like a Christmas star. She meets a young girl who is sad because they have no money for presents. Ruby makes a present of her hat.

A young boy is picking up trash but his hands are cold. She gives him a present of her gloves. And a disabled miner gets her silver dollar.

You’ll never guess where she finds Willie and her cat. She’s even more pleased about her surprise.

This is a well told tale with a common theme of kindness. Just what we all need at Christmas as well as all year long. Ruby would make a good friend.

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