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Author: Michael Dutton

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Publisher: Linden Park Publishers, Ltd.

Material: hard cover

Summary: Mary Jane is convinced there is a place beyond Christmasville. There has to be, or else how did all of the buildings get moved between January and December each year? And what about the snowman made in China. Everyone tells her she's being foolish, but she and her friend Emily are going to figure this out. And the adventure begins. This is a fantasy adventure that moves back and forth between life as we know it and life as we imagine it in a train village.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 12 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 6.5

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: The premise is great, and the author does a great job creating the imagery you'd expect of a town built for Christmas. Still, it took about 30 pages to really get into it and even then, I would find myself having to re-read things to see how it fit.

Pros: Fantasy and Christmas combine in a world that kids love to imagine.

Cons: The print is small and so are the margins. This is not a reader-friendly book.

Borrow or Buy: Skip. Unless you are a real fantasy (or train) buff, this is a book that takes work to read.


Educational Themes: This is largely a story to be enjoyed for recreational reading.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America 2009.

Literary Categories: Fiction - middle grade, Christmas, fantasy, adventure, trains

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2009

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