Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I've edited this post so many times. I just can't seem to write the words to describe this treasure of a story. These illustrations are some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking ones I've seen. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Tooney is not your typical Christmas story full of "Ho! Ho! Hos" and families gathering around the Christmas tree. It's a story of unimaginable heartbreak, love that will never die, and renewal of the spirit.
Jonathan Tooney was happy once. He had a wife whom he adored and a baby whom he cherished. But this was a long time ago, when doctors didn't have the medicines they have today. When they died, the pain and bitterness overwhelmed him so much that he "seldom smiled and never laughed." He fled his once happy home and settled in a village where he knew nobody, and made his living making beautiful woodcarvings.
One day, a widow and her young son ask him to carve Christmas figures that are like the ones the widow's grandfather had. And Jonathan Tooney, through the creation of the Nativity woodcarvings and his relationship with the mother and child, becomes a changed man.
That's pretty much all I'm going to tell you about the story, because I don't want to give anything anyway. The illustrations are simply breathtaking in their beauty and detail. Don't rush the pages when reading the story (truth be told, you won't be able to, since this is one of the longer picture books). Gaze at the loving detail P.J. Lynch has given to this gorgeous story.
Some books are forgotten soon after the reader has closed the book for the final time. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Tooney will not be one of them. Get your hankerchiefs ready.