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The Flying Canoe: A Christmas Story Hardcover – August 1, 2011
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About the Author
Daniel San Souci was born in San Francisco, and grew up across the Bay in Berkeley, California. He attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. Over his twenty-year career as an author and illustrator, he has published nearly fifty children’s books, including thirteen with his brother, Robert.
Daniel lives in the East Bay hills with his wife Loretta, who is a children’s librarian. They have three children, Yvette, Justin, and Noelle.
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A group of six lonely fur traders find themselves in the dark and lonely forests of the Canadian wilderness on Christmas Eve. Each of them long for the comforts and joys of spending Christmas with their loved ones back home in Montreal. As the six Canadian fur traders are gathered around their campfire reminiscing about what it would be like to be back with their families, an unknown stranger appears and offers to grant them their wish to be with their families for Christmas. There is only one catch, that is, that no one would be able to speak a word until they made it safely home. Readers will have fun venturing who the stranger is. The six Canadian fur traders embark on their mystical journey home. They all get into a canoe and begin paddling. The canoe mysteriously rises high in the sky and swiftly glides through the sky. As they effortlessly glide through the sky, the fur traders realize at one point that they can travel a three days journey in less time than a human heartbeat. It has been a long time since the fur traders had been home. As they approach high above their hometown of Montreal they discover some very important changes in their families and their loved ones. Etienne, one of the fur traders, recognizes his wife, Yvette, trudging to midnight Mass. He also sees his son walking behind his mother but hardly recognizes him because he has grown so much since he last saw him. Another fur trader, Jean-Paul saw his father and realized how old he looked. Jean-Paul did not see his mother accompanying his father to Mass and then realizes that he will never see his mother again. Paascal, one of the other traders, sees his fiancee walking beside a well dressed man and carrying a sleeping baby in her arms. Pascal realizes that Marie had broken her promise to him and had not waited for him. Armand, the oldest fur trader, trembled with rage as he saw his youngest daughter walking with an officer from the fort, the one whom he warned to stay away from his daughter. You will want to read this book to find out if the fur traders were able to totally complete their journey without speaking a single word.
I believe most students will enjoy this mysterious legend accompanied by dark colored illustrations. However, I gave it four stars instead of five because the tale was weak on the real meaning of Christmas and that it glorifies the magical and bewitching rather than the miraculous-- i.e. the birth of Jesus. Don't get me wrong, this book is still a great read and most children will be captivated by this Christmas Adventure!