Thursday, May 22, 2014

Christmas Eve Blizzard by Andrea Vlahakis and illustrated by manuel (Manny) Schongut (Review and Giveaway)

ISBN: 9780976494331
Ages 5-9, Grades K-4
Hardcover $15.95
About the book: Christmas Eve Blizzard is the tender story of a beautiful cardinal who is trapped in the snow until a young boy rescues him. Nicholas places more importance on caring for the injured bird than in decorating the Christmas tree or opening his gifts on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve Blizzard will truly touch your heart. The "Creative Minds" section contains information on how to make your backyard into a bird-happy habitat, several simple bird-feeder crafts, "cardinal numbers," math games, and information on what to do if you find an injured bird.
Review:  This is a lovely picture book reminiscent of the 1930s and 1940s books for children. The illustrations are soft, sweet, charming and beautifully drawn. The story is somewhat bilingual in that the characters, Nicholas and his Abuelo (grandpa) use Spanish words here and there. The story is in English.

It is Winter and there is a blizzard raging and it is Christmas Eve. There is a small, young apple tree in the yard which Nicholas and Aubelo have planted. Nicholas is worried about his little tree. Looking out the window he spies a fallen Cardinal and rushes out to rescue the little bird. They feed, shelter, and water the bird and the following day - Christmas - they release the bird.Then a bit of folklore style magic takes place - for many following years the apple tree is covered with Cardinals on Christmas Day.

In the back of the book, Arbordale lives up to its reputation for educational stories by factoring in some "Creative Minds" activities - Spanish and English Glossary, Teaching Trivia about birds and especially Cardinals, Making a Bird-Happy Backyard Habitat, and then a couple of pages dedicated to bird feeders.

A super book to entertain and educate. (rev. V.G)

About the author: Andrea Vlahakis (Christmas Eve Blizzard) is a busy children's author, having been published in Highlights for Children, Turtle, Ladybug and Appleseeds. In addition to her own writing, Andrea is an instructor at the Institute of Children's Literature. A large portion of Andrea's work revolves around nature and birds. The inspiration for this book comes from her childhood home. When she was eight, her father hung a cardinal-red birdfeeder from their old apple tree and her love of bird watching was born. It also comes from her own rescue of a bird during a blizzard a few years ago, with the help of an equally snowbound wildlife rescue person on the other end of the phone. Andrea lives in Connecticut surrounded by woods, streams, and lots of birds to watch. For more information, visit her website at

About the illustrator: Emanuel (Manny) Schongut (Christmas Eve Blizzard and Turtles in my Sandbox) is a prolific, multi-faceted freelance illustrator who works in children's books, book covers, textbook illustration, editorial art, posters, and advertising art - essentially he does it all!. Some of his numerous clients include Masterpiece and Mystery Theater, Public Television, New York Magazine, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. His cover art and/or illustrations grace books from a wide variety of book publishers including Harper & Row, MacMillan, Doubleday, Morrow, Green Willow Books, and now Arbordale. In addition to his own artwork, Manny taught reportorial art and figure drawing at Pratt Institute in New York for several years. He now illustrates and teaches in the San Francisco Bay area.

GIVEAWAY:  The good folks at Arbordale Publishing (formerly SylvanDell) love for kids to read their books. They have graciously agreed to provide one of our readers with a copy of Christmas Eve Blizzard for a special child in their lives. Giveaway begins May 22 & ENDS June 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing for the purpose of this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.


  1. i remember the 1st x-mas we had no snow i was so depressed my hubby went and bought 30 cans of can snow and snowed the whole yard so i would be happy

  2. My husband proposed to me on Christmas eve, and then we went to Waffle house because neither of us wanted to cook after all that excitement. Going to Waffle House on Christmas morning is our new family tradition now.

  3. Always sledding on the hill by our house with my dad so mom could get the gifts ready.

  4. My sister usually has a big blow out on Christmas Eve where everyone stays up late and opens all the presents on Christmas Eve.

  5. This looks wonderful and I love the illustrators style. Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention on the Kid Lit Blog Hop

  6. I love this book's cover illustration :)

    Hopping over from the kidlit bloghop

  7. This looks like a beautiful and gentle book to share at Christmas. Seems destined to become a family classic! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Looking forward to seeing you again this week!

  8. I would have too say my 16th birthday at my grandparents in Florida. My birthday is Christmas eve by the way. So many of my relatives were there. It was such a special birthday that year for me. I still remember every birthday since then.

  9. Yes, I remember the year that my sister and I got our Barbie Motor home. That was the best holiday season ever~

  10. This sounds like an enjoyable book, but as we've just finished a cold, cold winter, it's going on the TBR list for November! Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  11. One of my favorite Christmas memories is my friend and boss inviting me and my son to her family dinner for the holiday. Cynda was an amazing friend. She would invite any of our customers to her home for every holiday if they had no family to spend the day with. And we all got presents too!

  12. We always go to the Candlelight Service at our church on Christmas Eve.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  13. I have two special Christmas memories I can tell right off. First, a very special Christmas Day memory was in 1958. GOD gave me a precious little girl for Christmas, that really cried and wet her diapers. Her name is Ellen and she is now a grandmother of 5. Then since moving here in Texas, where it is really seldom we ever get snow, I had to make a fast trip to our Kroger store and when I cam out onto the parking lot, it was snowing. The parking lot lights were on and with the lights and snow the sky was filled with beautiful sparkling snowflakes. It was so beautiful I will never forget it. I would love to win this book for a great-grandchild. Thanks Vera for having Andrea here and the give-away. GOD bless. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com

    1. Maxie, two lovely memories you've shared. Your first memory of a very special Christmas Day in 1958 is something! Well, I have a very special Christmas Day memory from 1960! Our first born was delivered at 6:00 a.m. on Christmas Day. So special!

  14. When I came home on Christmas from the Army was a special one I was homesick.


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