Friday, December 13, 2013

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

On Christmas Eve, when Santa checks his list of who’s “naughty” and who’s “nice,” he discovers that all the children in the world have been “naughty,” so none of them will get toys this year. Instead of toys, he loads his sleigh with lumps of coal.

It is a cold, windy, stormy, dreary night and the people around the world have shuttered their windows and doors and sealed up their chimneys with boulders and boards to keep out the cold. Santa, of course, can’t get down the chimneys.

But, there is one chimney open, so Santa lands on the roof and slides down the chimney where he lands in Molly’s fireplace. Molly greets him with a plate full of cookies. Santa rechecks his list and discovers Molly is the only child who has been good the past year. Somehow he had missed her name the first time around.

When Santa asks her what she wants for Christmas, she asks Santa to forgive all the naughty boys and girls and give them presents, as usual.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas, written by William Thomas Thach, isn’t exactly a Christian book, but it is a book about forgiveness. Jesus is referred to as “a glorious child” who told us “it’s best if we learn to forgive.”

The text is written in rhyme, using the style and opening line from “Twas the night before Christmas…” Rhyming text is difficult to do and do well, but in this case, the author does a pretty good job of it with only a couple of places that could use a little extra work.

The illustrations by Richard Bernal are fabulous. They are bright and bold and simply beautiful. Some cover a two-page spread, with the text printed throughout; others cover a full page with the text at the bottom, and the rest have an illustration at the top of the page with the text at the bottom.

What I Like: Besides the fact I obviously LOVE the illustrations, the book itself is a treat for the senses. To start with, the book is covered in red velveteen, with the title and author’s name printed on it, along with a full-color picture of Molly. The book is held shut with a snap fastener, giving the impression of a photo album or a diary.

The end papers are covered with a beautiful gold print with snowflakes. There is even an attached gold ribbon to use as a bookmark. There is a place at the front for a child to write their name (This book belongs to…). And, on the back papers are a Glossary of terms used in the text (like “abode” and “nigh”), along with a place for a child to write a letter to Santa (Dear Santa, I’ve tried MY VERY BEST to be good all year long! For Christmas, may I please have:…).

If you take the time to read the copyright page, here’s a sample of what you will see there:

“You may savor this book, but you must not eat it. Consuming this book, in whole or in part, may lead to stomach ache, grumpiness, and other problems….Why in the world are you still reading the copyright page? Molly and Mr. Nibbles are waiting for you!”

As my husband said, the attention to detail throughout is amazing!

What I Dislike: Having said all that, there are a couple of things in the book that aren’t completely explained. First of all, it seems a bit convenient that none of the “naughty” children will be visited by Santa and get their lumps of coal because their fireplaces have been sealed up against the cold.

And  second [SPOILER ALERT], when Santa grants Molly’s wish and forgives the rest of the children, he lets Molly ride in the sleigh with him to deliver the presents. But, the sled is supposed to be loaded with lumps of coal, not presents, and no mention is made of Santa ever going back to the North Pole to get them. These aren’t major issues, but I thought I would point them out.

Also, the book is a bit pricey with a cost of $24.00. Granted, it’s a beautiful book, but that’s a lot to pay for a picture book.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: The author recommends 2-10.

Publisher Info: Global PSD; ISBN: 9780982566312; Hardcover, $24.00.

Buy now at $24.00!

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