What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in Ann Estelle's mind, Christmas won't be perfect unless she gets the perfect gifts. This is presented as a cute, kid-thing to do -- part of the charming narcissism of childhood. She does change her mind in the end.
What's the story?
To the Queen, Ann Estelle, Christmas is all about the "List." Each day she adds something new, hoping not to waste such a "golden gift-getting opportunity." But in the end, she realizes that her perfect day had included much more than just presents.
Is it any good?
This first in the series of "Queen" stories by author/illustrator Mary Englebreit features Ann Estelle as the inimitable, titular Queen consumed with making a list of things she wants. It's hard not to like Ann Estelle, even though she seems to only look out for her own wants and needs. Happily, she gets caught up in the joys of her holiday celebration -- ice skating, baking, caroling, decorating, and playing with her cousins -- and forgets about the list altogether.
The book's bright colors and happy faces make it seem warm, cheery, and harmless. And ultimately the lesson is that family, friends, food, singing, and stories are the important part of Christmas celebration. But the joy of making a gift list so long that it stretches from one Christmas to the next is unsettling. This might have been a better book if Ann Estelle had added a few things on her list for the other people in her life.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what Christmas means to them. How do the kids feel about Ann Estelle's list? Have they ever kept their own list? How about making a list of gifts to give other people? How do they feel about making gifts rather than buying them? What made Ann Estelle decide that Christmas wasn't just about presents? What other kinds of things made her holidays perfect? What do you think about Ann Estelle? How can someone who calls herself Queen and thinks so much about making her own life better also appear to be so kind and caring?