It is cold and clear on Christmas Eve night in 1914. Suddenly a strange sound pierces the darkness. Someone is singing a Christmas carol in German.
Francis Tolliver and his fellow British soldiers are holed up in muddy trenches along the Western Front. Their enemies―German soldiers―lie in wait just across a field known as “No Man’s Land.” When the Germans’ carol ends, Thomas and the other British soldiers sing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Soon carols are being sung back and forth. Then a figure emerges in the dark, carrying a small Christmas tree with lighted candles. Slowly the British and German soldiers leave their trenches, and the war, behind to stand together in the open field.
This haunting story based on an event in World War I known as the Christmas Truce is adapted by award-winning songwriter John McCutcheon from his song of the same name. Henri Sørensen’s traditional, full-color oil paintings reinforce the emotional power and dignity of the story. A CD featuring readings of the story and recordings of “Silent Night” and “Christmas in the Trenches” is included. For more on the Christmas Truce visit www.christmasinthetrenches.info.
Author: John McCutcheon
Illustrator: Henri Sorensen
Publisher: Peachtree (2006)