December 7, 2015
An Invisible Thread: Christmas Story by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, illustrated by Barry Root
An Invisible Thread:
by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
illustrated by Barry Root
Maurice is just a boy when he and Laura meet. She is passing by on the street. He’s outside hoping to find food when he asks her for spare change. Instead of giving him a few coins, she buys him dinner.
Soon they are meeting for dinner once a week. He helps her put up her Christmas tree in spite of the fact that he’s never had one. Laura invites him to spend the holiday with her family. He tells her about the only Christmas gift he’s ever received, a teddy bear from the Salvation Army.
Out in the country, Maurice sits at the dinner table amidst Laura’s family. More than the gifts, and they give him plenty, or even the food, what impresses Maurice the most is all of these people gathered together, laughing and talking and enjoying each others company. Maurice promises himself that he will have this for himself one day.
Maurice leaves his gifts at Laura’s because he is afraid they will get lost or stolen at the shelter hotel where his family lives. While he’s placing them under the tree, he leaves a gift for Laura. His teddy bear.
I have to admit that I finished the book wondering about a few things. Why the title? This is about simple acts of kindness. Yes it is also about the threads that connect all of mankind but most young readers won’t come up with this on their own. There also seemed to be gaps in the story. I’m assuming she must have spoken to his mother before having him over to her apartment and taking him into the country for dinner but that didn’t come through.
This is a picture book adaptation of a full length book and I’m guessing that a lot of this detail was in the adult book but fell by the wayside in the adaptation.
In spite of this, I really like this book. In it, one woman changes a young man’s life by giving him goals and hope for a better future. And it all started because she heard him, she saw him, and she didn’t just walk on.
This book would make excellent classroom reading before a food drive or other holiday charitable activity. Your young readers may have a few ideas of their own about a project they’d like to take on.