The Christmas Miracle
of Jonathan Toomey
Discussion Questions

1. What differences do you see in the first and last pictures? Can you find a symbol in the first picture that tells us something aboutToomey?
2. What are some things we know about Toomey that the villagers donot?
3. Give some examples of how the illustrations reveal Toomey's situationand feelings.
4. Authors try to show, rather than tell.  What actions of Toomeyshow that he was changing?  What actions show that he liked the presents.
5. Tell some ways in which the personalities of the widow and her sonare revealed to the reader.
6. How is repetition used in the story?
7. Can you find a clue in the picture of Toomey and Thomas carvingtogether that villagers might have used (had they been concerned aboutunderstanding him) that might explain his unhappiness?  (This canlead to a discussion of whether we look for clues in others that mightindicate why they act in ways they do.)
8. How does the artist's use of color add to the story?
9. What is the miracle?
10. Why did the artist show Toomey through the window in one of theillustrations?
11. Why does Toomey say,  "There are no such things as miracles."?
12. Can one person have the power to effect dramatic change, as Thomasand his mother changed Toomey's life?  Name some real people who havedone that.
13. Create a letter that Toomey might write to his wife six monthsafter the last scene in the story, or write what he was thinking as hesat rocking with the picture in his hands.
14. Write your own ending to the story--i.e. what happens after thelast page of the book?
15.  For older students:  Compare Dicken's A ChristmasCarol with The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.


Sketch, using charcoal pencils
Create figures (with clay rather than wood)
Bring in or bake molasses cookies, corn bread, raisin buns
Study holidays in different cultures

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