Item description for When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four: A Christmas Memory by Jerry Camery-Hoggatt...
Overview When everything was ready, Pudge got to turn on the lights . . . and all at once, like magic . . . it was Christmas."
Mother was only four-foot-eleven-inches tall on the outside, but when she was at her best she stood eleven-foot-four on the inside. And every Christmas she was at her best. Mother would carefully decorate a twelve-foot Christmas tree and load extravagant presents beneath its branches, and the magic of the holiday would begin
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Format: Deluxe Edition
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 11.1" Width: 9.7" Height: 0.4" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Sep 30, 2007
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0800718364 ISBN13 9780800718367
Availability 0 units.
More About Jerry Camery-Hoggatt
Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Vanguard University, in Costa Mesa, California. A professional storyteller, he is the author of the highly-acclaimed Christmas stories "When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four" (in trade adult and children's picture book editions) and "Givers of Gift"s. Jerry and his wife, Shaleen, are the parents of three children.
Reviews - What do customers think about When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four: A Christmas Memory?
Gorgeous in every way Dec 6, 2008
Jerry Camery-Hoggart's "When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four" is a touching Christmas tale about lifting others up and giving unselfishly.
Written in memoir style, the book introduces the author's family during good times. He lives with his cousins, his four siblings, his father, and his mother. Mother, we learn, measured only four foot eleven inches, but she was fond of saying she could be eleven feet four inches tall on the inside. At first, the author says, he couldn't understand how his mother could be tall on the inside and short on the outside...but soon he'd understand.
Each year, his mother bought a huge Christmas tree and decorated it lavishly. She was fond of gift-giving, too, and always made Christmas memorable for her family. But then one Christmas, the author's cousins move away. Worse, his father leaves. There's no money for a Christmas tree. Trying hard to keep Christmas alive, the author's mother strings up some lights on the wall, in the shape of a Christmas tree. Afterward, however, she cries and admits she's never felt so small.
Then and there, her children decide this will never happen again. They work hard to earn money, carefully saving every penny. When Christmas comes, they buy a tree - though it's small and lopsided and has sparse branches. They decorate it and surprise their mother with it and she sheds tears of great joy. Suddenly, the whole family is feeling very tall, indeed. "We were tall and wise, for that Christmas we recieved what Mother wanted more than any present she put under the tree. We learned what it means to be a giver of gifts."
What I Like: Everything! This is a moving, memorable tale for both adults and children. The illustrations by Mark Elliot are superb: Rich, vivid, realistic yet nostalgic, and adding a great deal to the story.
What I Dislike: Nothing. Although it should be noted the Christian message in this story is subtle. The only outright mention of Jesus is when the author describes the decorations on his mother's tree, which include ornaments made in Sunday school. In particular, there's a baby Jesus glued into a nutshell. Adults will understand this story is as much about God's greatest gift as it is about children learning about giving.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Kristina Seleshanko, Managing Editor, Christian Children's Book Review
Review Courtesy of In the Library Reviews Apr 4, 2008
It was the Christmas of 1963 when Jerry Camery-Hoggatt learned what it meant to be a giver of gifts. His mother, Josephine Mary Knowles Hoggatt, stood only 4' 11" but she was tall on the inside-11' 4", in fact! She said she needed to be that tall to make Christmas happen for them, but Jerry didn't understand what she meant by that until later. Jerry lived with his parents, along with a sister, three brothers, and three cousins, whose father was in the Navy and couldn't care for them.
Jerry's mother was a romantic who loved to give extravagant gifts, because she believed that God gave to us His most extravagant gift--Christmas. She always got a twelve-foot tall tree each Christmas, but one year everything changed. Jerry's uncle came back for his kids after he got married and left the Navy, then his older brother and sister both left home too. Then his dad left, and that left Jerry with his mom and his two brothers. With their income reduced, they had to move to a smaller home and couldn't afford a Christmas tree anymore. That was the first time Jerry had seen his mother cry. Determined never to let that happen to his mother again, he and his brother did odd jobs to make money in order to buy a tree for the next year. So for Christmas 1963, with $[...] in their pocket, they bought a tree for their mother. That was the second time they saw their mother cry, and the day they all stood 11' 4". It was the Christmas of 1963, the year Jerry Camery-Hoggatt learned what it meant to be a giver of gifts.
When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four: A Christmas Memory is the story of Jerry Camery-Hoggatt and his mother, Josephine Mary Knowles Hoggatt. Although it was written for young readers, this book is sure to delight everyone whether young, old, or somewhere in between. Beautifully illustrated by Mark Elliott, the reading of When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four: A Christmas Memory will become a lasting family tradition each Christmas, and will remind readers that Christmas is God's extravagant gift to His beloved creation--the human race.
Wistful Christmas Story Nov 30, 2007
I'm a sucker for books I can read out loud to my family. One year we even narrated and acted out "Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect" for a church Christmas program. My ideal Christmas includes the reading of the story of the birth of Jesus and either The Night Before Christmas or the The Tale of Three Trees, and a family viewing of A Christmas Story. It just doesn't get any better than that.
If my children were younger, "When My Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four" would likely be added to our stack of feel good Christmas memories.
The author tells of his mother, small in stature and huge in love, and how Christmas became a picture of grace and love. There is a little extra backstory that distracts in the beginning but once I got several pages in, I was hooked. My eldest daughter and her friend cuddled up next to me on the couch and I read the story to them and showed them the pictures. They agreed that there was magic within the story. I suppose I should mention that they are twenty.
The illustrations and the heart of the story are beautiful. I think children struggling with sadness might very well find a hint of hope within the story of Mother, too. The author's dad leaves and the following Christmas "failure" almost steals Mother's hope. But love inflates it to the proper height - Eleven-Foot-Four.
A beautifully illustrated Christmas story Nov 4, 2007
When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four: A Christmas Memory is a picturebook set in the 1960s about the true meaning of Christmas. Written from the perspective of a young boy whose 4' 11' mother feels "Eleven-Foot-Four" on the inside, When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four tells of the drastic changes in his life that shrank his family - his uncle and cousins moved away, his older siblings grew up, and his father left the family, leaving his mother to take care of just him and his two siblings. Money becomes tight, and for the first time, he sees his mother cry on Christmas. Resolving never to let this happen again, he and his siblings work together to raise money and have a truly wonderful Christmas the following year; all of them learn together what it's like to feel "Eleven-Foot-Four" on the inside. When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four has Christian themes and references, but first and foremost it is a beautifully illustrated Christmas story, ideal for young readers who are almost ready to crack open their first chapter book.
Will be a favorite year after year Oct 24, 2007
In 1963 Mother used to joke that she could grow to eleven-foot-four. In reality, she was only four-foot-eleven, and when placed in the center of all eight of the kids in the family, she was the smallest.
But every Christmas, Mother would go all out making Christmas. She bought a twelve-foot tree and decorated it. There were too many gifts under the tree to count. And Christmas was extra-specially wonderful.
But then one year, everything changed. The three cousins that lived with us went to live with their parents. My two older brothers left home. And my dad left. We no longer had a twelve-foot tree...we had one made out of nails and tinsel and attached to the wall. But that year we learned the true meaning of Christmas...
When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four is a really cute children's story about learning to give during the holidays. This book is beautifully illustrated, and beautifully written, and is sure to be a delightful addition to your child's library. I read it to my two-year-old and my five-year-old, but I think it is geared more toward 8 to 10-year-olds.
Armchair Interviews says: A perfect book for the holidays.