Eleven-year-old Emma tells the story of the wee hours of Christmas morning in 1880, when her mother, the local doctor, was called to a farm to deliver a baby, in this book for readers 4 to 8. Emma's disappointment at their belated Christmas plans soon turns to compassion as she cares for the imminent baby's worried siblings. The life of prairie settlers is depicted in detail in Ronald Himler's realistic pencil and watercolor illustrations, and Emma's awakening sense of responsibility and pride in her mother's work are touching.
"This memorable tale is beautifully told in clear and simple prose, which is complemented perfectly by the uncluttered, colored-pencil and watercolor drawings.... Both [Elizabeth] Van Steenwyck's descriptive text and Himler's well-drawn scenes contrast the poverty of the setting with the richness of the characters' feelings. Christmas tales abound, but this one is a treat for eyes and ears."—School Library Journal