Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

PERFECT GIFT FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS

The Tree Within the Tree

Written and Illustrated by Sally Huss

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Sally places her message for this story right on the cover: The Importance of Appreciation. Alexander and Charlotte have only two dollars between them. They are walking through a Christmas tree lot on Christmas Eve. The owner informs them that they only have enough money to consider a tree on a pile of rubbish in the corner. There the two children discover a scraggly tree that desperately wanted to become a Christmas tree to make a family happy. The family is poor but determined to embellish their tree. As the tree gazes at the worn furniture and scanty possessions, it is amazed by how family members gather popcorn, aluminum and personal possessions to transform the scrawny tree into the most beautiful tree inside and outside.

Illustrations are simple and classic; this book will not only place smiles on the faces of preschoolers and primary school children, but remind children and adults alike to appreciate the little things and not become embroiled in the materialistic side of Christmas. Recommended as a bedtime story or read aloud for students and families to share.

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IT’S A DOG’S LIFE X 5

A Night at the Animal Shelter

Written by Mark J. Asher

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Sweet Christmas tale centering on the plight of five dogs who now find themselves at Blithedale Animal Shelter on Christmas Eve. These five animals narrate the story: Maizie, a four month old Black Lab puppy, Dutch, an eleven year old mixed breed, Raider, a three year old pit bull, Peg, a six year old lame Chihuahua, and Georgie, a seven year old Golden Retriever. Each of these animals have been given up for various reasons they deem to be no fault of their own. On Christmas Eve, their favorite volunteer Ginny is feeling blue, but willing to spend time comforting the animals. Maizie discovers her cage door is left ajar. She will soon be persuaded to let her friends out for a few hours of fun and mischief. Christmas comes and goes; none of the animals seem destined for adoption. In January a visitor to the shelter will leave them behind once more, but provide them with an unforeseen opportunity.

The personification of the animals and their dialogue is both humorous and realistic. It is obvious that the author has a good handle on human and canine behavior. He has written nine books about dogs. This short, sweet and heartwarming tale is a good choice for a holiday read or for any age reader, especially one who loves dogs.

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OF CHRISTMASES PAST AND PRESENT

Christmas Healing (Healing the Regime Book 1)

Written by Morris Fenris and Jasmine Bowen

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A bittersweet holiday novella that combines elements of paranormal, horror and romance within a holiday setting. Eighteen year old Annalise led a carefree life as a pretty, popular teen until she was diagnosed with leukemia. Unable to pay her mounting medical bills, she assumes the unusual post of teaching modern technology and cultural customs to a family of vampires. Dr. Hever, the head of the Hever clan becomes her physician. Her life is turned upside down once more when she is summoned by the King of the Vampires to teach his brother Arthur, who has just awakened from a 1000 year sleep. Annalise is terrified. She slowly falls in love with Arthur, but her illness proceeds rapidly to Stage IV cancer. When she is whisked away to the hospital, both she and Arthur are devastated.

The plot sounds far fetched, but the authors succeed in making it palatable, for the most part. Reader’s emotions rise and fall as the conflict tears the two families apart. Annalise thought she was in love with Tony Hever; her fleeting life has been turned upside down by her deep feelings for Arthur. The ending is a surprise. Wonder what will happen in the second book of the series.

Recommended for young adult and adult audiences looking for an unusual but entertaining short holiday read.

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MONKEYING AROUND

The 3 Monkeys Christmas Treehouse (Monkey Tales Book 5)

Written by Rob “Nanook” Natiuk

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This is my first time reading a book in this series. Delightful story about three monkey siblings, Booey, Fooey and Hooey and their Jungle friends. The book is an interactive reading experience with ample opportunities for the reader to pause and allow the listeners to blurt out their responses by repeating, singing, or animating the sounds and actions of the characters in the stories.

In the first tale the three siblings receive a gift from their Grandpa Monk. At first they are puzzled by the red, white and green Christmas balls and stringed lights. Booey, the female, figures out they must be ornaments for a Christmas tree like the one she saw in the town. So they set off to find the perfect Christmas tree. Readers will meet some of their friends like the gorilla, crocodile and turtle. In the end, they find the perfect tree right under their noses. Tale two finds our friends looking over their Christmas list. As they travel to Coconut Town, they sing clever monkey songs adapted to familiar Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells,” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” They knock on doors of animal friends seeking to find the true meaning of Christmas. Finally, they discover that, “ A friend in need is a friend indeed.” In tale three, wise old Grandpa Monk tells his grandchildren the story of Santa Paws in the Jungle with his circus wagon pulled by eight zebras. Will the siblings find presents under the tree? The fourth tale speaks of the let down feeling many of us experience in the days after Christmas. Our friends have already tired of their presents; they ponder their New Year’s Resolutions. What do they share with their readers?

This book is perfect for elementary school children. Older siblings can read to younger brothers and sisters or the family can share the reading experience. Young children will love the repetition and songs. I will be reading other books in this series. Very entertaining, clever, and highly recommended.

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A FAIRY MERRY CHRISTMAS

Have a Fairy Christmas (The Magic Library Book Series2)

Written by Kymberlee Miller

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This is my first time reading a book in this series of early chapter books targeted for seven to ten year old readers but a delightful read for any age. The Book of Wishes of Wishes only reveals its contents to those to wish to leave their normal world. Magic is unlocked by reading the wish aloud three times and then opening up the book This book travels from library to library seeking a child who needs it.

Holly is a nine year old fourth grader who has recently moved from Texas to Montana. On Christmas Eve, she is thinking about how much she misses her friends and former life. Her only comfort is her fairy doll named Cora. In an attempt to cheer her up, Holly’s mom takes her to visit Santa. Holly confides that she wants a baby sister, a horse, and her friends back. Knowing that this is a tall order, Santa tells her about a magic book in the library. He warns her that not everyone gets what they wish for and that there is a price to pay. Holly races to the library, and to her surprise, the Book of Wishes finds her.

Holly will take an unforgettable journey to Fairy Land, but she learns that once she goes back home she can never return. Will Holly leave her family to live in a Fairy wonderland? What will happen if she decides to return to her unhappy life in Montana. Tomorrow is Christmas Day……perhaps magic will happen.

I did not expect to love this book as fantasy is not my favorite genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to lovers of fantasy, Christmas stories, and those who like to see the glass half-full.

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CHRISTMAS COLLAGE

Children’s Book: Saving Christmas (Kids Action Adventure)

Author: Morris Fenris

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The book description, cover and reviews suggest that this book is appropriate for children of all ages. Some parents might argue that it is not at all appropriate for children, but rather suited to young adults and adults.

There are four parts. In the first, readers meet a girl named Mary who generally spends Christmas alone. On Christmas Eve, she is out for a ride on her horse when she hears a strange noise and meets with an accident resulting in her being thrown from her horse. When she wakes up, Mary finds herself in a strange cabin with a white haired man. She is surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds. The second story features Mrs. Claus at the North Pole many years later supervising the elves on Christmas Eve. She experiences a strange sense of foreboding and a dramatic change in Santa’s personality. Part Three leads Mary to a sleigh ride in order to find Santa’s mother. The reindeer Vixen knows that she will be able to save Christmas. Finally in the fourth part, Mary realizes her true role and the reader learns what happened to Mary’s horse on the night of her accident.

The stories contain many run on sentences and grammar that needs some editing. It is difficult to classify the genre of these stories. Elements of romance, mystery, and adventure, but definitely not a kids book. This book contains some familiar characters and symbols, but adults should be aware of multiple layers of meaning and some inappropriate language.

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