A Very Mercy Christmas by Kate Dicamillo

A Very Mercy Christmas

Kate DiCamillo, Author

Chris Van Dusen, Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Fiction,  Sep. 27, 2022

Suitable for ages: 3-7

Themes: Holidays, Caroling, Kindness, Friendship

Opening: “Stella Endicott felt joyful. She felt like something miraculous might happen. She wanted to sing.”

Book Jacket Synopsis:

When Stella Endicott gets the sudden idea to go caroling, she has a little trouble getting anyone to join her. Her brother, Frank, is not good at spontaneity. The Watstons are very involved in a precarious baking endeavor. Eugenia Linclon declines, a bit rudely, to accompany the singing on her accordion. And Horace Broom is too busy studying planetary movement.

Will Stella need to sing by herself, accompanied only by the cacophonous contributions of the pig, the cat, and the horse she pick up along the way? Or might there be a gentle miracle in store?

Why I love A Very Mercy Christmas:

This is a delightful holiday story for fans of  Kate DiCamillo’s early reader books the Tales from Deckawoo Drive. It will put  readers in the mood for the holidays. It is full of holiday joy, friendship, kindness compassion and a little bit of silliness. 

Stella is filled with the Christmas spirit and wants to go caroling, but her friends and neighbors aren’t interested or are too busy.  So her animal friends, Mercy the Pig, General Washington the cat and Maybelline the horse follow her.  Not deterred, Stella  begins singing “Joy to the World” by herself as she walks down the street. That’s when something magical happens. This heartwarming story  doesn’t have a strong religious tone — just Stella wanting to share the joy she feels bubbling up inside her. 

Chris Van Dusen’s eye-popping and colorful illustrations will delight readers. He really captures the holiday spirit, the rosy cheeks, the gorgeous winter scenery, a starry night, and the unique personalities of each character/ Readers will see their favorites in full-color. A must read for DiCamillo’s fans. There is a special surprise at the end of the book.

Resources: Go caroling, but make sure you have friends and an adult to join you. Make your own holiday cards for friends. Or gift your neighbors some cookies you helped bake. Offer to do a chore for a senior neighbor. Spread the cheer of the holidays.

Kate DiCamillo is the beloved author of many books for young readers. Her books Flora & Ulysses and The Tale of Despereaux both received Newberry Medals. A former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, she lives in Minneapolis. Visit Mercy Watson for more about Mercy, and don’t miss a Piglet Named Mercy!

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.