Pamela Chan, Contributor
Now that my children are five, they are starting to remember Christmas traditions from previous years – including books that we have read. Christmas books have been an important part of what makes the Christmas season special for us. When I read about “The Girl Who Saved Christmas”, by William Thomas Thach, I was keen to see a copy of the book and suspected that my children would enjoy reading it.
What you Receive
Our copy arrived in a shiny red envelope. When we opened it we found a book with a red velvet fabric cover and gold embossed lettering on the front cover and spine. The velvet fabric on the groove next to the spine makes the book feel comfortable to handle. A snap clasp and flap close the book and a gold reading ribbon is attached inside. The endpapers just inside the front and back covers are made of gold coloured paper decorated with an elaborate collage of different snowflake patterns. The 36 pages inside are edged in gold finish on the three sides, adding a traditional look to the book.
About The Story
It’s a critical point in the story about Santa – every girl and boy must be good in his eyes come Christmas time. What would happen if they weren’t? How would Santa react? If all of the children are being naughty could any child rise above the prevailing attitudes of the time? How could the true meaning of Christmas provide a solution to this problem?
I’m dancing around the story here because I want to give you a sense of what it is about without giving away the plot. I’m someone who enjoys the excitement of the moment when you sit down to read a story for the first time with a child. (You can see a full reading of the story, along with animations, in this video.)
This story focuses on the main purpose for Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve. He travels around the world delivering toys to all the good girls and boys. In “The Girl Who Saved Christmas” a wrench is thrown into this plan. A little girl enters the story and works out a solution with Santa. On one page there is a reminder about another aspect of Christmas – the meaning of the Christmas story, accompanied by an illustration of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the form of a Christmas decoration.
The illustrations in the book remind me of traditional Christmas images from the 1950s and 60s. They are soft, realistic depictions with warm, saturated colours. They’re the types of images you might have seen on a more traditional Christmas card or wrapping paper. Combined with the binding of the book, the total effect is very beautiful.
When my five year old twins received the book and flipped through it, they kept exclaiming “Oh beautiful. Beautiful!” as they moved from page to page.
At the end of the book there is a glossary explaining fourteen words that might be new to the reader. There is also a page where a child can write down his or her Christmas wishes. It would be fun to write in the wish list and date it. A reader could even write in wishes year after year as a record of how his or her list changes every year.
Almost all of the sentences in the book are written using end rhymes so that the word at the end of a line rhymes with the line two lines before. Each sentence consists of rhythmic units that divide it into four parts. The rhythm, along with the rhyming end words, would help emerging readers to learn how to read the book. This particular rhyme scheme matches the one used in the The Night Before Christmas. If a young reader knows that poem, the rhythmic pattern in “The Girl Who Saved Christmas” might sound familiar.
“The Girl Who Saved Christmas” is a welcome and lovely addition to our Christmas book collection. It’s the type of book that you would want to keep on your bookshelf year round as it shares a meaningful message about what happens when someone else does something wrong. How can we react? There is also a secondary message at the beginning of the book when Molly grapples with how other children treat her and make her feel excluded, and how this could change. The choice that Molly makes when Santa asks her what she wants for Christmas is an important illustration of selflessness.
The rhyme scheme and compelling story will keep a young reader’s attention as they read the book. Don’t forget to ask your child to watch out for Molly’s mouse on the pages where Molly appears. “The Girl Who Saved Christmas” is the type of book that you could read to a child in the days leading up to Christmas or you could have it wrapped up under the tree as an elegant gift for a child.
About the author: William Thatch grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, worked and lived overseas with the Red Cross and now lives in Los Angeles where he co-founded Lighthouse Tutors – a private tutoring company. When he is not teaching he enjoys writing children’s stories. “The Girl Who Saved Christmas” is his first book.
Molly Christmas website (where you can purchase the book)
“The Girl Who Saved Christmas” Facebook page
Video with full reading of “The Girl Who Saved Christmas“, with illustrations.
Disclosure: I received a sample of a product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided and all views and opinions stated on this post are 100% my own.