In a little house, in a big city, there lived a very old man. He had watched the city grow up around him, seen towering skyscrapers and miles of asphalt swallow the woods and fields, parks and gardens, of his youth. The people who lived in the skyscrapers knew nothing of the old man -- most didn't even know each other.
One winter night, the old man sat in his little house, thinking sadly of Christmases long ago when friends and family gathered to tells stories and sing carols. The children would make gold paper stars and hang them in the windows to welcome visitors. The old man sighed. Nowadays, no one in the noisy, impersonal city, filled with garish, glittering holiday lights, would even notice old-fashioned paper stars.
But memory -- and the Christmas spirit -- can be powerful and miraculous, as the old man with his basket full of stars proves in this joyous holiday story.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
Kindergarten-Grade 3. A cautionary tale written in the same spirit as Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House (Houghton, 1978). An old man who lives alone in a tiny house has watched a sprawling city grow up around him. He observes that his neighbors "let whole days go by without once looking up at the sky." Near Christmas, he remembers the gold-paper stars that children used to make and starts cutting out some decorations, but then wonders if anyone will notice them amid the garish, glittering lights. When a storm knocks out the city's power and the old man goes out to a nearby hill to decorate a bare tree, the glow he creates leads the people to leave the dark skyscrapers and follow him. The warmth of the stars reaches out to all who watch and soon they start singing and making stars to fill their own windows. This holiday parable is illustrated with fanciful, childlike oil paintings. The old man's stars seem to leap and glow as they spill out of his bag, creating a golden light toward which the people from the city lean as they climb up the hill. A quiet appeal for simple pleasures and old-fashioned celebrations.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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