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As a child, there was nothing better than an early December morning. Mom always appreciated a good children’s book illustration, and each winter she searched to find the best holiday Advent calendar to make the Christmas countdown all the more spirited. December may have already begun, but at, it’s not too late to delight in a seasonal narrative. This Web site holds a special story lovingly crafted by site publisher, writer and illustrator Penelope Schenk, who annually creates a free online Advent calendar. Each year she provides a different tale, translatable into French, Italian, English and Dutch. This year’s story takes place in the small French town of Bric-a-Brac, where a kind young man named Pierre keeps shop with his black cat, Tate. Since Dec. 1, the story has divulged that Luc Livarot, the Ministry of Cheese, has asked Pierre to create a new cheese for the Christmas season. Plotted out to reveal a page a day, visitors can browse their desired date (start on Dec. 1 to catch up on what’s been already missed). Even if it sounds childish, you’ll be hooked. The simple story is undeniably intriguing because there’s no way to resolve it — you must play the waiting game until the end of the month. Schenk’s illustrations are minimalist scenes, composed with construction paper cutout figures shaded in richly muted colors. There’s no catch — just enjoy the simple story and poignant illustrations. Now… if we could only find a print version to buy.

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