Review sponsored* by BookLogix
The Children’s Book Review | May 18, 2016
Written by Emilie Eklin Khair
Illustrated by Joan Coleman
Age Range: 4-10 years
Hardcover Book: 33 pages
What to expect: Kudzu, Family, Animals
When little Sam and Andy hear howling wind and see scary shadows outside their window, their mom helps them find a way to see beauty and wonder even though sometimes nature can be frightening.
Sam and Andy have a hard time sleeping one stormy night. The kudzu vines outside their windows make strange and terrifying shapes that fill their imaginations with nightmares. When their mom suggests finding shapes of animals in the creeping vines, the boys realize that they can turn the vine into a game. First the boys’ mother points out teddy-bear shaped trees and a vine T-Rex. The next day on the way to school, Sam and Andy look for creatures in the kudzu vine with their friends.
After learning that the kudzu vine originated in Japan and grows so fast that it can overtake houses and other trees, little Sam wisely points out that you can always find good in something bad. The boys continue to look for exciting creatures in the vines, but what happens when the kudzu dies off in the winter? Will it come back? It’s mom to the rescue with a kudzu Christmas surprise.
KUDZU FOR CHRISTMAS is a story that would appeal to children in parts of the country where kudzu vines grow rampant. It’s a charming tale about looking at the bright side of things, and seeing beauty where some might see frightening shapes or annoying weeds. The prose is solid and child-friendly. The Christmas twist, kudzu-vine-ornaments for the tree, is a nice way to tie in a holiday, making this book a unique treat for elementary school children.
Mild religious overtones (prayers and Christmas holiday) are more suited for Christian religious groups, but the message is fairly communal and low-key.
Recommended for children 3-10 living in areas where kudzu vines are ubiquitous, and especially recommended as a holiday gift.
Add this book to your collection: Kudzu for Christmas
About Emilie Eklin Khair
Kudzu for Christmas is Emilie Eklin Khair’s first children’s book. She lives in McDonough, Georgia, with her husband of 26 years. Her sons, Sam and Andy, are recent graduates of Auburn University. While her roots are in Minnesota, her Southern experiences are an inspiration to her writing. It was here that she told her boys the first story about Kudzu, and they are still sharing the tale twenty years later.
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