A Very Mercy Christmas (Mercy Watson)

by Kate DiCamillo (Author) Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Mercy Watson

For fans of Mercy Watson, old and new, comes a joyful crescendo of favorite characters in a picture-book celebration of the quiet miracles the holidays bring. Mercy ornament included!

Stella Endicott felt joyful. She felt like something miraculous might happen. She wanted to sing.

When Stella gets the sudden idea to go caroling, she has a little trouble getting someone to join her. Her brother, Frank, is not good at spontaneity. The Watsons are very involved in a precarious fruitcake attempt (but happy to send their pig, Mercy, out for the occasion). Eugenia Lincoln declines, a bit rudely, to accompany on her accordion, and Horace Broom is too busy studying planetary movement. Will Stella need to sing by herself--with enthusiastic contributions from the pig, the cat, and the horse she picks up on the way? Or does the evening hold a miracle Stella hadn't expected? With tender affection for Mercy Watson and all her Deckawoo Drive friends, Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen offer a picture-book homage to the season that is perfectly suited for family sharing--perhaps with some cups of hot cocoa and a stack of well-buttered toast.

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School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Stella Endicott is spontaneous: in a moment of joy, she wants to go caroling and share the joyful feeling with others. Unfortunately, her neighbors and friends are busy and not as willing to change their plans as quickly. Luckily, Mercy the pig loves being sung to and joins Stella as she tries to recruit others. It is not long before a cat and horse join them, and when Mercy sings with Stella, something miraculous happens to draw everyone together. Gouache art on each spread in this emerging reader chapter book assists the story. Van Dusen's cool tones, saturated colors, and expressiveness pair well with the written words, providing nuance to vocabulary and characterization. This is a heartwarming Christmas story that emphasizes being kind to one another over any strong religious tone. VERDICT Recommended, especially for libraries where the series is popular and emerging reader books are needed.--Rachel Zuffa

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Thanks to DiCamillo's quirky and endearing characters and subtle use of scene, [this story] feels like a bit of Christmas magic. . . . This celebration of community lit from the spark of just one joyful child anchors this familiar, warm story. . . . Has to be said: It hits all the right notes.
—Kirkus Reviews

Expressive, pink-flushed characters sparkle in scenes bedecked with festive cheer in the winsome illustrations of this holiday tale.
—Foreword Reviews

Van Dusen's cool tones, saturated colors, and expressiveness pair well with the written words, providing nuance. . . a heartwarming Christmas story that emphasizes being kind to one another.
—School Library Journal
Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo is one of America's most beloved storytellers. She is a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and a two-time Newbery Medalist. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
September 20, 2022
Mercy Watson
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV002200 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Pigs
JUV017010 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Christmas & Advent
Library of Congress categories

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