A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
This is a good read for kids who like fantasy, strong female characters, and a bit of innocent romance. 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.
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.
Talk to your kids 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.