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"A smaller percentage of 17 year olds saw adults reading in their homes in 1999 than in 1984."
Summary: It can't be true. It's Christmas morning and Edgar awakes to find no boxes, ribbons, or toys under the tree. Convinced that Santa lost them en route, Edgar heads out to find them. During the search for HIS presents, Santa leads him on a journey of self discovery. This is a holiday story that teaches kids that giving (not just getting) is the true spirit of Christmas.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 5 to 9
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a book with great potential. The message is important, and the fact that there are other children with less and giving more gives kids roles for empathy and emulation. However, the positive message is undermined by other elements of the plot. As a parent, I am not comfortable with stories that have kids leaving a note for their parents while they leave home and "search the town" for something they want.
Pros: This is the story that parents want to share with their kids to remind them that getting isn't as important as giving.
Cons: There are too many leaps in the plot. Edgard jumps from one place to the other. For example, there is nothing to explain why Edgar goes from the park to the hospital room of a stranger. Regrettably, we do have to think about safety in the stories we present to our kids. Had the plot been set up as a dream, that would have mitigated the issue.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The story offers a message that parents want.
Educational Themes: The theme of the true spirit of Christmas is one that extends throughout the year. There are elements of Edgar's behavior and conversation that lend themselves to empathy, judging others, communication skills, fairness, love, personal choice, safety, and selfishness.
Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. is reviewing a pre-publication copy of this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, Christmas, life lessons