The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas

By Madeleine L'Engle; illustrated by Jill Weber

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Vicky Austin’s family does one special thing each day of December to prepare for Christmas. This year, they’re also preparing for the birth of a new brother or sister, due after the New Year. Vicky is worried that the baby will come early—what kind of Christmas Eve would it be without Mother to help them hang up stockings and sing everyone to sleep with carols? This classic story of an old-fashioned Christmas is accompanied by merry illustrations by Jill Weber.

This special eBook edition includes bonus content not available in the print edition:

· Christmas in New York essay by Madeleine L’Engle

· Reproductions of 7 unique L’Engle family Christmas cards created and illustrated by Madeleine L’Engle

· First chapter of the Newbery Award–winning A Wrinkle in Time


Read an Excerpt


DECEMBER is probably my favorite month.

And on the first day of December we were out of bed before Mother came to call us.

I ran to the window to see if maybe it had snowed during the night. But the ground was still bare, the grass tawny, with a few last leaves fluttering over it. The trees were shaking dark branches against a grey sky.

Any snow? Suzy asked. Suzys my little sister. Shes only four, and Ive just turned seven. I can read. Of course, so can John. Hes ten. I answered, Not a smidgin. And the sky isnt white enough for



Praise for The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas

"Repackaged, with Weber's full-color spot illustrations to add visual interest, this should make for agreeable, alternative holiday read-aloud." —Kirkus Reviews


"This new edition of a story first published in 1984 includes unobtrusive spot illustrations done in an inviting folk-art style; readers will feel as though they're glimpsing the Austins' very own well-loved ornaments and other holiday memorabilia. Compact trim size further highlights the coziness of the family drama."—Horn Book Magazine

Reviews from Goodreads



  • By Madeleine L'Engle; illustrated by Jill Weber

  • Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) was the Newbery Medal-winning author of more than 60 books, including the much-loved A Wrinkle in Time. Born in 1918, L’Engle grew up in New York City, Switzerland, South Carolina and Massachusetts.  Her father was a reporter and her mother had studied to be a pianist, and their house was always full of musicians and theater people. L’Engle graduated cum laude from Smith College, then returned to New York to work in the theater. While touring with a play, she wrote her first book, The Small Rain, originally published in 1945. She met her future husband, Hugh Franklin, when they both appeared in The Cherry Orchard.  Upon becoming Mrs. Franklin, L’Engle gave up the stage in favor of the typewriter. In the years her three children were growing up, she wrote four more novels. Hugh Franklin temporarily retired from the theater, and the family moved to western Connecticut and for ten years ran a general store. Her book Meet the Austins, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book of 1960, was based on this experience.  Her science fantasy classic A Wrinkle in Time was awarded the 1963 Newbery Medal. Two companion novels, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet (a Newbery Honor book), complete what has come to be known as The Time Trilogy, a series that continues to grow in popularity with a new generation of readers. Her 1980 book A Ring of Endless Light won the Newbery Honor. L’Engle passed away in 2007 in Litchfield, Connecticut.

    Jill Weber has illustrated numerous books for children. She lives in New Hampshire.

  • Madeleine L'Engle Photo by Sigrid Estrada
  • Jill Weber Photo by Orianna Riley


Available Formats and Book Details

The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas

By Madeleine L'Engle; illustrated by Jill Weber



Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)