I urge you to meet Maggie Rose, a charming and lovable heroine. Reminding me a bit of Anne of Green Gables, Maggie Rose is imaginative, eager, hardworking, and full of spunk. Her family, 'those Bunkers,' are the laziest, 'singingest,' best-natured family in Maine, 1951. On Midsummer Day, she dreams up a 'Birthday Christmas' celebration.
Follow Maggie Rose as she spends the next six months planning, working, and saving for a birthday Christmas celebration, against all odds. This book is my most favorite Christmas story and one of my favorite books of all time. I am inspired by the way Maggie's family bands together in the face of tragedy. The sketchy illustrations by Maurice Sendak are a perfect addition to this quirky, heart-warming story. Maggie Rose: Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer is out of print, but available used at Amazon.com. Add it to your Christmas story collection today. You won't be sorry!
Ever since Maggie Rose had been minnow size, beginning three nights before Christmas, she had bundled into someone's cast-off coat, swaddled her neck with someone's cast-off scarf, pulled someone's cast-off cap over her ears and trudged off down the east road to see what the neighbors were making of Christmas.
['Those Bunkers'] were the happiest and laziest family along the road, paying as little heed to their dirt and clutter as they did to their neighbors' scorn. Tim and Liz and their brood of seven were soft-spoken and well-mannered. They held their heads as high as their neighbors and had their own pride in what they considered important. Maggie Rose was important to them. All but the baby knew her as something different--someone that might have come out of the top bureau drawer, had they had a bureau drawer. All of them were proud of her.
However, one small person, not yet nine years old, as against a whole lazy family, had her moments of discouragement. One of these swept over her now and made her drop the calendar she was holding and give a prodigious sigh...
She could expect no help from them--Tim down to the smallest one. If they were ever to have a celebration--have windows clean and whole and a tree and Christmas fixings for neighbors to look in on, as she had been looking in on theirs for three years past--she'd have to do every mite of it alone. She gave another sigh, longer, more discouraged than the first. It was a big undertaking, bigger than anything she'd tried to do so far. And yet to be born close to midnight on the 'night before'--to have for one's very own a truly birthday Christmas--this was an undertaking not to be abandoned without much thinking.
Friday afternoons were library days and rarely did Maggie Rose miss one. Here was time and place for discovery and satisfaction. Every shelf held such a load of expectation and promise that at times she was well-nigh staggered by it. She devoured books as a hungry robin gulps down angleworms. They fed her and she came back always hungry for more.
Maggie Rose stowed away so many sayings from the Holy Book; she was as thrifty and thorough about it as a chipmunk stowing away the seeds of a spruce cone. Words and sentences stayed with her--to use again, or just to make happy remembering.
All the way home the Captain's words kept lapping against her mind like little coming-in waves against the shore. "You've been a great addition to the party, Maggie Rose." Could anyone say anything nicer?
From that moment Maggie Rose's eyes shone like stars. She could only make sounds like a small chirping bird when people spoke to her. In time children fell asleep, heads on the laps nearest them. Before the midnight hour came, everyone, as if by general accord, broke into singing: "It came upon a midnight clear." The carol filled the room; and singing, Maggie Rose thought: It's come. For Him, just born; and for me, nine years old.