The text is filled with rich vocabulary and sensory details, evocatively describing the sights, sounds and smells of the season. The joyous illustrations … create a misty, dreamy atmosphere with blurred edges, glowing illumination and an overall impressionistic tone that will appeal to both children and adults. … WHEN families find an endearing Christmas story (such as this one), THEN they will enjoy reading it over and over.
As with his previous work, Brenner frames the story through a repeated pattern of “When…” and “Then…” statements full of poetic, Norman Rockwell-like descriptions of the weather, activities, and delicious moments. He lets the anticipation build and then delivers with a satisfying page turn. The text is matched with Christy’s cheery, hazy illustrations, focusing on the family’s curly haired girl and her towheaded little brother. Fans of the previous book, and those libraries with high demand for Christmas fare, won’t be disappointed.
—School Library Journal
Returning to the sequential narrative style of "And Then Comes Halloween," Brenner alternates between sentences beginning with “When” and those starting with “Then,” lyrically evoking a shift in seasons… The text describes holiday traditions generally, while Christy’s digital art—suggestive of watercolors scribbled over with crayon and pencil—personalizes the story, showing two siblings visiting a department store Santa, selecting and decorating a Christmas tree with their parents, and making and wrapping homemade presents. The contrast between the cool palette of snowy outdoor scenes and cozy interior settings is as pleasing as this family’s palpable affection.
An inviting story… Soft-focus digital illustrations in vibrant hues reflect the season’s coziness and industry. Those looking for an accessible book about secular celebration of Christmas will enjoy this warm-hearted offering.
The lyrical journey through the pleasures of holiday anticipation is a rewarding one, with gratifyingly savory descriptions of winter rituals. Christy’s digital art has a soft-edged, painterly look; the gently textured candy-colored clothing and holiday décor stand out pleasingly against the subdued background tones of interiors and wintry landscapes, and the attractive family and their little black dog are welcoming figures. This would make a cozy readaloud selection, perfect for a pre-Christmas story hour for school-age kids or for a snuggle session at home on a snowy day.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Author Tom Brenner tapsinto a child’s eagerness for Christmastime to arrive while Jana Christy’s dreamy, radiant artwork adds just the right amount of warmth.
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Capturing the only-in-December sense of excitement that accompanies the holidays… This prelude to Christmas is an especially festive affair thanks to Jana Christy’s textured digital illustrations. In her hands, the rituals of December—baking cookies, trimming the tree, sitting on Santa’s lap—have a special candlelit magic. Brenner’s poetic prose distills the essence of the season.
Bright digital illustrations, which evoke the softness of watercolors, add to the cozy warmth.
—Seattle Times Sunday