Apples and Angel Ladders

A Collection of Pioneer Christmas Stories


No matter how well immigrants adapt to life in a new country, they still treasure the traditions of their native homes. For many pioneer settlers in North America, Christmas was a time to honor their heritage, both spiritual and cultural. During those long and often bleak winters, Christmas brought families and their communities together. The festivities gave pioneers a chance, for even a little while, to forget their hardships and concentrate on beauty and meaning.
- from the author?s introduction.

In this delightful Christmas collection, author Irene Morck has taken a number of stories from her bestseller, Five Pennies: A Prairie Boy?s Story (Fifth House,1999), and adapted them for children of all ages. Based on her father?s childhood years in a Danish pioneer community, Apples and Angel Ladders follows a family through their most memorable Christmases. Accompanied by Muriel Wood?s beautifully realized paintings, this collection vividly recreates the hardships and simple joys of homesteading life and the Christmas season that offered the kind of riches that never could be bought.

This is a collection that will be shared by grandparents, parents and their children, and become a keepsake to be handed down and cherished for years to come. (includes colour plates with woodcuts in black and white throughout, special binding with a ribbon marker)


"Each story is illustrated by one colour plate and several black and white spot illustrations in which Muriel Wood captures the warmth of the close-knit family united against the harsh conditions of their farm life. Because these gentle stories are long and full of the details that make social history so interesting, they seem best suited for reading aloud to family groups. The book's handsome production -- with its glossy paper, ribbon bookmark, and elegant endpapers -- makes it an attractive gift, possibly from grandparents with similar memories to share. "
Quill and Quire

"Many children today are far removed from the immigrant experience, but Apples and Angel Ladders tells them what it was like for a Danish family celebrating its first Christmas in North America. "
The Associated Press, Special Edition Holiday Package

"This is a book you will want to gather the children together for and read to them during evenings in the weeks prior to Christmas. ..Irene Morck relates a compilation of Christmas stories based on her Danish father's years of growing up in a pioneer setting in North America. You will especially enjoy the paintings by Muriel Wood with children, as they will help bring to life the trials, tribulations and special holiday moments the Morck family endured from 1919-1939. "
The News-Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee

"Irene Morck's stories of her father's memories of growing up in a Danish immigrant family in the woodlands of Alberta, were originally written for adults in Five Pennies: A Prairie Boy's Story. But they were so enjoyed by children, that this volume of Christmas stories from 1919-1939 was created for them. .. Muriel Woods' illustrations convey the warmth and vitality of this indomitable family in the midst of poverty. "
Kingston This Week