Today behind the Advent calendar door we find The Birds' Christmas Carol, which was given to the urchins by Grandma Carol (born on Christmas Day, just like the Carol in this story). This little book (not quite a novel, but longer than a storybook) was one of the first gifts the urchins received from their new grandmother, soon after she and Grandpa got married. So it's "recommended" by Grandma Carol, but it is very dear to us as well.
Carol Bird is a cherished Christmas gift to her family; born on Christmas Day, her name describes her perfectly, since she sings all the time. Frail and often ill, she nevertheless brings joy and hope to everyone as she plans a special Christmas celebration for the nine young Ruggles children who live nearby.
I owned this version of the little story when I was in elementary school; I spent sixty cents of my own money to buy it from the Scholastic Book flier that came home from school. Isn't it strange? I totally remember it being called The Birds' Christmas Carol -- I distinctly remember thinking that her name was such a clever pun. But look: this edition has a different (more straightforward, more boring) title. Memory is such a strange thing . . . .
Thanks, Grandma Carol, for bringing this sweet story back into my life!