The Legend of Holly Claus

 
(i)

 

St. Nick's saintly child plays fantasy heroine.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Holly is a model of a strong heroine that thinks on her feet, makes wise decisions, and wants happiness for all. She also puts others before herself and respects her parents and elders.

Violence

Beloved wolf character is killed by warlock and eaten by birds, causing grief to other characters. Threats to kill all. Infant heart set in ice.

Sex

True love expressed between main character and young man; kissing on hand as greeting.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that an evil warlock kills a beloved character and threatens to kill not only the main character but all loved ones associated. There's also young love, harmlessly illustrated through fluttering eyelashes and breathy dialogue. Holly and friends meet a Jewish family who share Hanukkah as another holiday observed during this time.

What's the story?

In 1878, a 10-year-old boy sends a letter to Santa Claus inquiring what Santa himself wishes as a gift. This act of generosity is the catalyst for Santa and wife to receive a baby. Holly is born of the purest heart and becomes the means for escape by an imprisoned-by-curse warlock named Herrikhan. He manages to set her infant heart in ice and threatens to return one day to collect it, and thus set himself free. \ \

The Land of the Immortals is closed then to the outer world, and Holly is forced to live in a castle constantly glistening with snowflakes to avoid melting her heart; and in isolation except for loving family and set of animal friends. Obsessed with the life in New York City as seen through her telescope, she discovers a way to escape. In Victorian New York, she brings happiness to all she meets by helping people, young and old, acknowledge their dreams. Herrikhan follows masquerading as a wealthy young man and potential suitor. Holly, however, has her eye on another lonely soul.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

A new take on the jolly, pink-cheeked, white-bearded man living in the North Pole, the father of Holly Claus has a temper, can be impetuous, is flirtatious with his wife, and struggles like any parent to settle his overachieving adolescent daughter. THE LEGEND OF HOLLY CLAUS is a good read for kids who like fantasy, strong female characters, and a bit of innocent romance.

This book in the Julie Andrews Collection is filled with flowery descriptions and accompanied by delicate illustrations. Certainly easy to read, the bulk of the drama is in the beginning and end, which may cause some readers to put it down and forget to pick it back up. However, this is a great holiday selection for kids who favor books with fantasy, romantic heroism, and plucky females.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the main character and how the book says she possesses the "purest heart." Though dutiful and highly moral, she is also impatient and strong-willed. How does she show these limitations? Do these qualities make her more likable? Obviously it is a fantasy, but how is she relatable in her lonely isolation or wish to find her path in life? Which characters stand out and why? Also being a book about Christmas, families can talk about holidays and how they are observed through different traditions.

Book details

Author:Brittney Ryan
Illustrator:Laurel Long
Genre:Holiday
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:October 1, 2006
Number of pages:544
Publisher's recommended age(s):9
Read aloud:9
Read alone:9

This review of The Legend of Holly Claus was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written bybibliophile December 17, 2008
 

THE BEST CHRISTMAS BOOK EVER!

I read this book every year for Christmas, which has been four or five years now. It is such a powerful, beautiful story, and so well written. I can't begin to describe how much I enjoyed it. I highly recommend this book; it's probably my favorite. There is no sex. There is one or two uses of d-mn, and one use of God's name in vain. There is some violence, but it's not very graphic. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS STORY
Teen, 17 years old Written byJames N. O November 12, 2013
 

A Delightful Christmas Read!

This is a wonderful Holiday read that enhances the legend of Santa Claus. I was very impressed by the writer's ability to paint such a picture with words. Holly is a genuine heroine, and her quest with her animal friends against the evil warlock, Herrikhan is a fantastic thrill ride you will want to experience again and again. Kids 10 and up will get a big kick out of reading this alone, and parents will love to read Holly's adventures to their younger children.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written byGeek4310 December 16, 2010
 

Perfect for almost all ages

I've loved this book since I first discovered it in the stacks of my local library. It reminded me why I love Christmas without being overly gushy and forceful with its message. The language is descriptive and enthralling. I would certainly recommend this novel to anyone.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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