Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Christmas I Remember

Rhyming picture books are one of the most difficult things to write, but that doesn't keep many new writers from attempting them. Such is the case with Deirdre Tolhurst's A Christmas I Remember. And while Tolhurst's rhymes are better than many, often her story gets caught up in rhyming rather than moving the story forward. That's why it takes 20 pages to tell a story that could easily have been one or two paragraphs.

The author begins the book by thinking back to a Christmas when she was a child and was worried Santa Claus wouldn't be able to get to her house due to a snow storm. She looks out the window and sees her father shoveling the driveway - right in the middle of the storm.
"The storm increased tremendously
as my gaze fell down below,
And all the work that he had done
was covered up with snow! And yet he kept on going, relentless in his chore
Of clearing off the sidewalk and a path
to our front door."
She tries to stay awake, but soon drifts off to sleep. But she thinks she hears a voice say "Thanks a lot for all your help!" and "Be careful on your flight!" When she wakes up, the sidewalk is clear and she sees hoof prints in the snow.
"Dad knew what I was thinking,
Was it Santa there with you?
Did he help you with the shoveling;
was that his gift to you?

Before I spoke, he winked and grinned,
as if to silence me;
'That will be our secret, for all eternity!"
The last two pages of the book discuss the real reason for Christmas, beginning with the words "Just a note to remember/all blessings come from above."

Throughout, watercolor illustrations by Jason Hutton add interest.

What I Like:The author has a talent for writing in rhyme, although this book could have been much tighter.

What I Dislike: Again, I find a lot of filler in this book. I also don't think the plot or point of the story is very strong. The tacked on reminder at the end that "oh yeah, Christmas is really about Jesus" is very much disconnected to the rest of the story.

Overall Rating: Ho-hum.

Age Appeal: There is no publisher recommendation, but I'd say 4 to 7.

Publishing Info: Tate; 2011; ISBN: 978-1613464229; paperback, 24 pgs., $8.99.

Buy Now at Amazon for $8.99


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