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Cover for The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas

The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas

An Austin Family Story

Madeleine L'Engle, Jill Weber (Illustrator)


List Price: 12.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Vicky Austin's family does one special thing each day of December to prepare for Christmas. This year, they're also preparing for the birth of a new brother or sister, due after the New Year. Vicky is worried that the baby will come early—what kind of Christmas Eve would it be without Mother to help them hang up stockings and sing everyone to sleep with carols? This classic story of an old-fashioned Christmas is accompanied by merry illustrations by Jill Weber.

Praise For The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas: An Austin Family Story

“Repackaged, with Weber's full-color spot illustrations to add visual interest, this should make for agreeable, alternative holiday read-aloud.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This new edition of a story first published in 1984 includes unobtrusive spot illustrations done in an inviting folk-art style; readers will feel as though they're glimpsing the Austins' very own well-loved ornaments and other holiday memorabilia. Compact trim size further highlights the coziness of the family drama.” —Horn Book Magazine

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374380052, 56pp.

Publication Date: September 28, 2010

About the Author

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was the Newbery Medal-winning author of more than 60 books, including the much-loved A Wrinkle in Time. Born in 1918, L'Engle grew up in New York City, Switzerland, South Carolina and Massachusetts. Her father was a reporter and her mother had studied to be a pianist, and their house was always full of musicians and theater people. L'Engle graduated cum laude from Smith College, then returned to New York to work in the theater. While touring with a play, she wrote her first book, The Small Rain, originally published in 1945. She met her future husband, Hugh Franklin, when they both appeared in The Cherry Orchard. Upon becoming Mrs. Franklin, L'Engle gave up the stage in favor of the typewriter. In the years her three children were growing up, she wrote four more novels. Hugh Franklin temporarily retired from the theater, and the family moved to western Connecticut and for ten years ran a general store. Her book Meet the Austins, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book of 1960, was based on this experience. Her science fantasy classic A Wrinkle in Time was awarded the 1963 Newbery Medal. Two companion novels, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet (a Newbery Honor book), complete what has come to be known as The Time Trilogy, a series that continues to grow in popularity with a new generation of readers. Her 1980 book A Ring of Endless Light won the Newbery Honor. L'Engle passed away in 2007 in Litchfield, Connecticut.

I have always loved illustrating books, deciding what the scenery, the costumes, and the characters all look like. And I really do love book design, the millions of typefaces, and bringing order to it all. My favorite projects are when I get to wear both hats.

After attending Rhode Island School of Design, I moved to New York City and landed my first job as an apprentice at a small animation studio where I worked on a few segments of Sesame Street. My next job was in publishing, where I decided books were my true love. I had two staff positions in the art department of T. Y. Crowell, where I worked on children’s books, adult trade, and college books—a great learning opportunity. My last staff job was as assistant to the art director at Simon & Schuster, and from there I struck out on my own as a freelance designer and illustrator.

Many years ago, I moved with my husband from SoHo, before it got so chic, to the woods of New Hampshire, where we still grow our own food in the summer and keep warm by the woodstove in the winter.