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It is a cold, snowy Christmas Eve on Mill Street, and little Frances Rosalie yearns to begin the celebration. But not without Uncle Ambrose. Every year it is Uncle Ambrose who makes Christmas sing, with his eloquent fiddle and his songs about angels. But as evening wears on with no sign of him Francis Rosalie fears that he may be in trouble. The snow can be deadly for a man with a crippled leg, and even Ambrose's warm heart and fiery spirit are no match for the driving wind and cold. "Oh God, please take care of Uncle Ambrose!" prays Frances Rosalie. It seems that nothing short of a Christmas miracle will bring Ambrose safely home. But who would have guessed that that miracle would be a great, black dog? Frances Ward Weller and Robert J. Blake, author and illustrator of Riptide, team up again to create a most unforgettable angel in this enchanting Christmas tale.
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Ages 5^-8. The book opens with a picture of a girl looking out a window, a worried expression on her face. She is Frances Rosalie Murphy, and the time is 100 years ago. Frances Rosalie is waiting for her uncle Ambrose to arrive on the snowy Christmas Eve. Snow is a problem for lively Uncle Ambrose. An accident left him with a painful limp that makes it hard to walk in such bad weather. As Frances Rosalie recounts her concerns, readers will be immersed in the pictures that detail Uncle Ambrose's difficult excursion through snowy neighborhoods, out past the town, and over the river, each step more difficult until he slips and falls in a snowbank. Unable to get up, Uncle Ambrose is in real danger of freezing to death when a huge black dog appears, and Ambrose is led to safety. The dog is never seen again, nor is the dog familiar to anyone in the area. Was the dog a guardian angel? That's the way the story is passed down. Blake has made an interesting illustration decision: the pictures show only Ambrose's treacherous excursion, not what is happening in Frances Rosalie's house. A man struggling in the snow, even one in danger, may be of more interest to an older audience than to young kids, but no one can quibble with Blake's masterful paintings. Friendly at first, the landscape becomes icier and snowier as the story progresses--until the dramatic snow-drenched spread that shows Ambrose and the dog, tiny dots buried in drifts. Based on a true family story, this is a captivating tale, full of peril, mystery, and love. Ilene CooperFrom School Library Journal:
Grade 1-4?An original tale about an Irish family, set in New England "some hundred years ago." Uncle Ambrose is expected at his sister's house on Christmas Eve. The musician of the family, he is the one who makes "Christmas sing" for his niece, Frances. However, Uncle Ambrose has a bad leg, and when an evening's snow turns into a blizzard, the excited activity around the house turns to worry. He finally arrives, saved by a huge black dog that no one has ever seen before. The "angel" of Mill Street disappears into the night and the family goes to bed. The narrative has the rhythm and pacing of oral storytelling. On each double-page spread, the text is set in a narrow vertical strip next to a large illustration. While the text describes what is going on in the house, the paintings show Ambrose's trek, with the black dog always shadowing him, making the story read as if it were being simultaneously told aloud and acted out. Two wordless, double-page illustrations at the climax (Ambrose's tumble into a snowbank and rescue) add to the meticulous structure of the book. Blake's watercolors, with the blue hues of the outside set against the yellow hues of indoors and the increasingly obscuring and wind-blown snow, add nicely to this cozy and old-fashioned Christmas story.?Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library,
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Scholastic, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M043915572X