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Petunia's Christmas    by Roger Duvoisin order for
Petunia's Christmas
by Roger Duvoisin
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2004 (1952)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Author and illustrator Roger Duvoisin (1904-1980) is remembered for his Petunia books, and noted for his artistry, especially as a New Yorker cover artist. Duvoisin's simple black-line, life-like sketches are precious, with a touch of color here and there on his characters and scenery.

Petunia (a goose) walks in freshly-fallen snow that is 'soft like a kitten's fur', as the country-side 'looks all new ... like a farmhouse when it's freshly painted'. Petunia hears a call as she reaches Windy Farm. At the fence, she sees a gander. Charles is very handsome, thinks Petunia, but he is also quite fat. Petunia invites him to come to her farm, and become a pet - just like her. But Charles is valuable to his owners. So Petunia disguises herself in rings of colors, and returns to rescue her new friend. The farmer's wife sees her and runs to the house yelling 'Help! Help! A flying dragon!' Though Charles leaves with Petunia, his owner comes looking for him and, alas, takes him back. Petunia is sad, but has another plan. She first dresses as Santa Claus to take up a collection on the street. When that doesn't earn what she needs to buy Charles, Petunia makes and sells Christmas wreaths, paper angels, and stars.

Petunia's Christmas offers youngsters an endearing lesson about love, good deeds, and persistence. Doing something kind for others all year long gives hearts a warm, fuzzy feeling - and Petunia's kindness is grand, just like this oversized book.

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