Cover of Hark: A Christmas Sampler by Jane Yolen and Tomie dePaola, Musical Arrangements by Adam Stemple

Hark: A Christmas Sampler

This mammoth collection of stories, songs, poems–and information–about Christmas is defined by its brilliant dePaola pictures. I think it is among the best work Tomie has ever done! Adam and I wrote two new Christmas songs for the book and he arranged a number of popular Christmas carols as well. The poems are all original (and a number have been reprinted elsewhere.) The stories are a combination of retellings of old tales and a couple of original stories of my own.

What reviewers have said:

  • “Fifteen carols plus two new songs with music by Yolen’s son, Adam Stemple, who also did the arrangements; a baker’s dozen of Yolen’s appealing poems; nine legends, retold with disarming simplicity; comparative information on several kinds of Christmas traditions (food, plants, animals, carols, gift-giving); even a brief verse play–all appropriately introduced by the ninth chapter of Luke. DePaola provides his best: simple, decorative images with a delightful variety of rich color combinations, pleasing borders, and judiciously deployed white space. Like the happiest of Christmas mornings, an inviting treasure trove of the familiar blended with the new.” — Kirkus Reviews