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The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Published by Poolbeg Press Ltd., 1997
ISBN 185371870X

Reviewed by Kilmihil Children’s Book Club

Jonathan Toomey was a wood carver, the best in the valley. The children called him Mr Gloomy because he never smiled or laughed and was always grumping or griping.
Years before, his wife and child died and Jonathan was broken hearted. One day the widow McDowell called to Jonathan. She was new to the town and had lost her Christmas crib figures when she moved house. She brought her son Thomas with her. Jonathan started to make the crib figures and Thomas told him what each one should look like.
Gradually Jonathan’s grumpy demeanour fades. This is helped in no small way by Thomas who sits watching the woodcarver work, not realising that a miracle is occurring to warm his sad heart. Jonathan begins to grieve for his dead wife and son and re-learns to open his heart to others. The story ends as he happily attends the Christmas service with the Widow McDowell and Thomas.

The book with its beautiful, life like illustrations by P.J. Lynch is a real gem. It’s a lovely classic Christmas story that would be enjoyed by children and adults.

Rating 8 out of 10.