Cover image for Special gifts
Special gifts
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1999.
Physical Description:
55 p. : illustrations.
Nine-year-old cousins Rosie, Lily, and Tess spend their winter vacation learning to sew with their neighbor Mrs. White and preparing for a special winter solstice dinner with Aunt Lucy and her boyfriend Michael.


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Lily wants pillows that say "wish"!Tess wants a vest with sequins.And Rosie wants dolls with dresses.And since the cousins have three weeks off from school for Winter Vacation, they want Mrs. White to give them sewing lessons so they can make all the pillows and vests and dolls they want. Of course, Aunt Lucy loves the idea, and soon Lily, Rosie, and Tess are not only learning to make stitches, but also how to hold on to their precious Cobble Street memories.

Author Notes

Cynthia Rylant was born on June 6, 1954 in Hopewell, Virginia. She attended and received degrees at Morris Harvey College, Marshall University, and Kent State University.

Rylant worked as an English professor and at the children's department of a public library, where she first discovered her love of children's literature.

She has written more than 100 children's books in English and Spanish, including works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her novel Missing May won the 1993 Newbery Medal and A Fine White Dust was a 1987 Newbery Honor book. Rylant wrote A Kindness, Soda Jerk, and A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories, which were named as Best Book for Young Adults. When I was Young in the Mountains and The Relatives Came won the Caldecott Award.

She has many popular picture books series, including Henry and Mudge, Mr. Putter and Tabby and High-Rise Private Eyes. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4Two more beginning chapter-book series titles that young girls will adore. Three nine-year-old cousinsTess, Lily, and Rosielive with their Aunt Lucy while their parents tour with a ballet company. In Some Good News, the girls create a local newspaper; in Special Gifts, they learn to sew. The simple plots rise and fall gently with enough action and activity to interest beginning readers. These are lighthearted stories with happy endings. The minutely detailed pencil-and-watercolor artwork sprinkled throughout the books reveals the unique personalities of the girls and creates a wonderfully serene setting. Readers are going to wish they, too, lived on Cobble Street. Good alternatives to The American Girls series (Pleasant Company).Sarah ONeal, Salt Lake County Library System, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

As in the first two books, these stories follow the minor adventures of three cousins as they spend a year living with a beloved aunt. Although there's little in the way of character development, young girls will enjoy reading about the kind and sweet characters, whose conflict-free lives are full of friends, successful ventures, and good times. Halperin's delicate, old-fashioned drawings contribute to the cozy, quaint feel of the stories. From HORN BOOK Fall 1999, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. These new additions to the Cobble Street series again feature the three cousins who are living with their Aunt Lucy for a year. News finds Tess, Lily, and Rosie starting a Cobble Street newspaper. In Gifts, the girls are out of school for winter vacation and decide to take up a new endeavor--sewing. The short, happy texts full of homey particulars, combined with Wendy Anderson Halperin's delicate and intensely detailed pencil drawings, are meant to evoke simpler times, and they succeed. On the other hand, some may find the girls' "adventures" boring and/or treacly. And it's beyond belief that a nine-year-old girl would be "playing an old Peggy Lee album and trying to remember some of those good jokes she heard George Burns tell on TV." For fans of the series. --Ilene Cooper

Table of Contents

Winter Vacation
Tea Cakes and Oranges
Mrs. White's Memories
Solstice Supper