Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift
by Dara Goldman
Boris is a musician, playing the songs he learned growing up in Russia. Stella is a baker, baking cakes and pastries like her father used to back in Italy. Boris and Stella live in the city and are best friends. They like movies, hats, and each other. At holiday time, Stella wants to give Boris the perfect present for Hanukkah. She wants him to know how special he is. Boris wants to give Stella the perfect present for Christmas—she means so much to him. But perfect presents cost money and their savings banks contain very little. To make their dreams of perfect presents come true, Boris and Stella each sacrifice something very special. In a nod to O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi comes this tender story celebrating traditions, friendships, and gifts from the heart.
- Dewey: E
- Graphics: Full-color illustrations
- Hardcover (9781585368594): 32 pages, 9 (w) x 11 (h), © 2013, 09/01/2013
- PDF (9781627530477): 32 pages, © 2013, 09/01/2013
- Hosted ebook (9781627536080): 32 pages, © 2014, 09/01/2013
- Suggested Interest Level: Age 5 - Age 8
- Suggested Reading Level: Grade 3
- ATOS Reading Level: 3.4
- ATOS Interest Level: LG
- Accelerated Reader® Quiz: 164181
- Accelerated Reader® Points: 0.5
- JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent (JUV017010)
- JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Hanukkah (JUV017110)
- JUVENILE FICTION / Classics (JUV007000)
The Horn Book Review - Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift
Reviewed on 3 December 2013
Bears Boris, a Russian musician, and Stella, an Italian baker, are in love. When the eighth night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve, each sells his or her most treasured possession (Stella, her pine tree; Boris, his dreidel collection) for money to buy the other a special gift. Goldman brings a new angle to “Th e Gift of the Magi” story by having the characters of different faiths celebrate each other’s traditions. The illustrations express the warm glow of the holidays, with gentle visual humor throughout.
Kirkus Reviews "Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift"
Reviewed on 1 September 2013
A pair of big-city bears celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas Eve in their shared apartment in this sweet, age-appropriate story that borrows the structure of O. Henry’s classic Christmas story, “The Gift of the Magi.”
Boris is a musician who grew up in Russia; he celebrates Hanukkah. Stella is a baker whose family came from Italy; she celebrates Christmas. Each wants to buy a special present for the other for the holiday, but both bears have just a few coins in their individual banks. Stella sells her small but beloved Christmas tree, growing outside in a pot on their balcony, and uses the proceeds to buy a new dreidel from Israel for Boris. At the same time, Boris sells his dreidel collection to buy a sparkling glass star for the top of Stella’s tree. Inviting illustrations are filled with the details of the bears’ cozy apartment and their joint celebration of the eighth night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, complete with potato latkes and Italian panettone cake. A neat, touching conclusion shows the bears celebrating and making plans for starting a new collection of dreidels, as well as growing a new Christmas tree with seeds from a pine cone from the original tree.
An inclusive, accessible interpretation of O. Henry’s beloved story and a “perfect gift” for families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. (Picture book. 4-8)
Author, Illustrator: Dara Goldman
Dara has been sketching animals and funny, little figures since she was a young girl. A freelance illustrator for the last 20 years, her work has never lost that sense of child-like wonder and magical delight. Dara’s spirited artwork has appeared in numerous publications from Your Big Back Yard Magazine to the New York Times. She has illustrated eighteen children’s books and written and illustrated four. To inspire children, Dara visits schools and libraries to show children step-by-step what it takes to put together a picture book, and she teaches illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Danforth Museum School, and the Concord Art Association. Dara lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
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- Author/Illustrator biography