Our Italian Christmas Eve

Viking. Oct. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593621868.
Gr 1-4–Danielle and Francesco are excited to celebrate their Italian heritage at Christmastime, especially at Aunt Babe’s house with their large extended family. As family members gather in the kitchen to prepare their Christmas Eve feast, a dilemma arises: “Your uncle Robert forgot to bring the struffoli!” It seems it will be up to Danielle and Francesco to use available ingredients to make a special dessert for the whole family and save Christmas Eve. Delectable food, including seven different kinds of fish, is served for the monumental feast. Afterwards, music, cuddling, presents, and midnight mass fill the evening as quality time with family is cherished. After all, it is “the best day of the year because we get to spend so much time with the ones we love the most.” Bright illustrations sketched with care accompany the text nicely in this fun take on a traditional Italian Christmas Eve. Final pages provide an author’s note with a brief history of the Italian celebrations often shared around the holiday season, as well as a savory recipe for “Mom’s Cheesecake.”
VERDICT An excellent addition to any elementary library, this would also pair well with a classroom lesson on holiday cultures around the world.

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