The Third Gift

The Christmas book display in the Children’s Department is a celebration of red and green, with cover images of reindeer, evergreens, snowmen, and Santa Claus.

But one day, there in the middle of that scene of festive wintery cheer, I saw a picture of a pensive boy in a golden desert.  The boy’s hands cupped a shimmering, translucent ball.

Who was this boy? What was he holding? And how come this book, a book about collecting resin from stunted, wind-blown trees, was on the Christmas display?

It turned out to be The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, the most beautiful new holiday book this year, IMHO.

The story starts out softly mysterious, as we travel with the boy and his father, who “collects tears.”  As we learn more about these rare, valuable tears, we see the best of them become the third gift (after gold and frankincense) for a baby far away. 

And we see why this glowing book about hard work, family and generosity belongs in a prominent place on the Christmas display.

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