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The Christmas Village Paperback – October 1, 2011
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Dear Miss Goodwin,
I am in the 3rd grade. My mother just bought an autographed copy of "The Christmas Village". I couldn't stop reading it ! It was just hard to put down. Everyone in my family wants to read it. I think you should write Part Two! Thanks for writing a great book.
Dear Ms. Goodwin,
Dear Ms. Goodwin,
Dear Ms. Goodwin,
Dear Ms. Goodwin,
From the Author
The Christmas Village reflects cherished memories of holiday time in New England. It holds remembrances of wood smoke filling the air, pine trees, toboggans gliding down snowy hillsides and candlelit Christmas Eves. But it's more than just a story set at holiday time - it's an adventure that transports you to another place and time and takes you on a roller coaster ride of action and suspense. The story's positive themes about family and friendship are blanketed in excitement and topped off with a dollop of nostalgia.
As a reader, I enjoy a story with underlying themes that reflect life itself, so in The Christmas Village, themes around disappointment, loss and forgiveness are subtly interwoven. And as a reader, I also love stories with twists and surprises, so as a writer, I promise there are more than a few in my books!
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I purchased the printed copy of the book to read with my 8 year old - let's hope he does not give away the story when the author comes to visit again next year. We read the story together at night before bedtime. Each of us took turns reading out loud. My husband, who admittedly hates to read loved the story. While we were reading the book he kept telling that I had to let the author know how great the book is.
Not only is the story great, but the writing is vivid. The author's writing style has you caught up in the story, you feel like you are there. There is plenty of suspense in the story to make it hard to put the book down. The ending is wonderful. Another parent in the school asked me about this book her 4th grade daughter could not stop talking about. I loaned the girl my copy of the book. When we would see each other I would ask her if she was done because I wanted to know what she thought of the ending. When I saw her this week, she came running over to me excited to tell me she finished the book. She gave me a big hug and told me she loved the ending.
Initially I intended to read the book and donate it to our school library. I loved it so much that I changed my mind and decided to read it every year at Christmas. Well, after seeing my little friend so excited this week I had to donate my copy of the book to our school library. We still have several students on the waiting list. I will get another copy for our family.
It reminds me of a long ago era, the 1950s when as a teenager I read and reread and reread Miracle on 34th Street, never realizing at the time that it would be a "classic." I think The Christmas Village will be a classic also - if it gets the readership it deserves. I hope it does.
It's a time travel story, back to the past, filled with surprising twists and turns. But I won't say what they are as I don't want to spoil them! Nothing was predictable, right up to the end.
I was particularly impressed how the author uses the past - 1932, the Depression era - to parallel the "present," which is 2007, to create a wonderful adventure.
The description passages, such as this one vivid sentence, are perfect: "Gray clouds had gathered overhead while they talked, erasing the blue sky and blocking the sun." Nothing particularly extraordinary - except ... "erasing" the blue sky. I had never thought of clouds erasing the sky!
The dialogue is also excellent. Here's an example:
(Jamie and his friend Chris have just helped a hobo.)
"That was nice of you," Jamie said. "I was a little afraid of him at first."
Chris said, "For all we know, a few years ago he could have been a successful businessman. Or a decorated war veteran. These days [the Great Depression] there's no way to tell. Everyone hasn't been as lucky as we have. I just hope he doesn't use that dime to get swacked."
Jamie looked at Chris like he was speaking Chinese. "You've never heard those words?" Chris asked. "Where are you from, the dark ages?"
No. He's from the future, 2007.
The author has done a stunning job of creating a story that connects past and present; that shows how we're connected to those who have gone before us - ancestors, friends.
The real world is always in the background because as the story begins, Jamie's father has just left him and his mother. But for a while we don't know why, and that's good. It increases the suspense, and makes the "magic" in the story so welcome. I love the magic in it, the kind of magic I believed in when I was a child - and in some more realistic ways still do.
That's what I love about stories. In the hands of a great writer, they can take me out of the ordinary world and, at the same time, bring it into sharper focus - and leave me smiling whenever I remember it. I'm smiling now as I write this review, and highly recommend this delightful story that isn't just for Christmas but for anytime of the year - and for everyone who is young, or young at heart.
This is our second reading, and we're both enjoying it even more than the first time. We're noticing more details, and feel like we know Jamie, Kelly and Chris, better.
This is a classic for sure in our family, and we have Return to Canterbury ready to read next!
Many thanks to Ms. Goodwin for helping me make more great memories with my grandson!