Book Review: The Quiltmaker’s Gift

Rating: ★★★★☆

This review is kindly brought to you by Deirdre Allen, lending a hand after a family move temporarily deep-sixed my writing ability.

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail De Marcken is a touching, lavishly illustrated tale of giving and receiving and of learning what matters most in life.  The story opens on an elderly woman living high up in the mountains:

It was said she made the prettiest quilts anyone had ever seen.  The blues seemed to come from the deepest part of the ocean, the whites from the northernmost snows, the greens and purples from the abundant wildflowers, the reds oranges, and pinks from the most wonderful sunsets.

Many wealthy people wish to buy the woman’s quilts, but she will not sell them.  She only gives them away to those who are poor or homeless.

A powerful king rules the kingdom in which she lives.  He has every toy and luxury imaginable, but he is not happy.  He learns of the quiltmaker’s quilts and decides to force her to give him one, but to no avail.  Finally, he decides to agree to her “price.”  She will make him a quilt if he gives away all he owns.    The king reluctantly begins distributing his possession to the people of his town and then ventures out into the larger world – giving away his things one by one and growing happier each moment.  Finally, as he gives his last treasure away, the quilt is completed and the king knows true joy.

The Quiltmaker’s Gift is a magical story told in true fairy-tale fashion.  Every page is a stunning visual feast for the eyes – a riot of color and rich detail.    A quilt square is set against each block of text, each square displaying a different type of quilt pattern.

This book calls to mind the story of the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-22) as well as the following scriptures:

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.  Luke 6:38

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

Although presented in picture book fashion, this story could appeal to older children and would serve well for a family read-aloud.  It could also serve as a springboard for discussions of materialism, needs vs. wants, and the nature of happiness.

Go to to find information on the author and illustrators, information on quilting and stories from those who have been inspired by the book.

If you love this book, consider reading The Quiltmaker’s Journey, a prequel in which we learn of the childhood of the mysterious old quiltmaker on the mountain and of what led her to become the woman she did.

Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift by Joanne Larsen Line
& Nancy Loving Tubesing

More Quilts from The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Joanne Larsen Line

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Publication Information: Brumbeau, Jeff. Quiltmaker's Gift, The. de Marcken, Gail (Illustrator). Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers. 2000. ISBN: 0439309107.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08, Books Children Love, Honey For a Child's Heart
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Posted on March 13, 2012

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