on July 6, 2005
We read this story for a family read aloud and my daughters, then 4 and 5 really enjoyed the book. The only drawback from their point of view was that it was a bit long compared to our normal read (I wouldn't expect an average 4 yr old to maintain interest for this lengthy story). It is an enchanting tale that is sure to become a classic. I enjoyed all of the various mythical characters taken from different cultures that were woven together in this tale (there is even a sort of glossary in the back with background on the various characters). Very original. While I personally don't approve of exposing children to unnecessary violence, I really didn't feel that this was too frightening as expressed by another reviewer. I'm sure if it were to be made into a movie the scary parts would be overemphasized, but I felt the novel had a good balance. My 5 year old enjoyed this magical story and the fact that good triumped over evil in the end. There was a great mix of magic, mystery, humor, and even good values. The artwork is quite beautiful, as one would expect from this talented illustrator, and definitely contributes to the enchanting feel of the book. I highly recommend this to families whose children enjoy a potpouri of fantasy, love, and mystery.
on October 6, 2004
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nick and Father Christmas, is the King of Forever, in a place called The Land of Immortals. He is known for giving presents to good girls and boys the world over. But one day, he gets a special letter from a young boy, asking him what he wants for Christmas, and instantly Santa Claus and his wife are blessed with a miracle: a little bundle of joy whom they name Holly Claus. But with the miracle comes danger, as well as a curse from an evil man named Herrikhan. For Holly Claus' heart is now frozen, and the gates to The Land of Immortals are locked, barring anyone from coming or going. Now, Holly Claus is a grown woman, and decides to break the spell that is holding her people captive. So, accompanied by her four faithful friends - a penguin, fox, wolf, and owl - Holly heads towards Victorian New York, where she encounters many different life-changing, yet dangerous, adventures.
Newcomer Brittney Ryan, has written a book that stands out against many of the children's/young adult books on the market right now. Her vivid descriptions, quirky characters, and wonderful storyline are absolutely amazing, while Laurel Long's black and white sketch illustrations are enchanting, and bring the story to life. THE LEGEND OF HOLLY CLAUS will capture the hearts of readers young and old, and eventually go down in history as one of the greatest fairy tales of our generation.
Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
on June 3, 2005
Holly Claus is the best book ever. The book is seasonal but it may be read during the summer. It is a gripping adventure about the only child born in the land of the immortals. The child happens to be the daughter of Santa Claus. But there is trouble there is a terrible curse cast upon her. This leads her to take a trip to earth at Christmas time. This is a splendid that will capture the heart of most readers. It teaches about kindness and generosity. It makes a wonderful Christmas gift.
on November 9, 2004
FINALLY, A CHILDREN'S BOOK THAT WILL NOT ONLY HOLD THEM SPELLBOUND, BUT ADD TO THEIR VOCABULARY, AND SENSE OF CREATIVE WORD PLAY. A BOOK THAT CAN BE "READ TO" THOSE WHO ARE STILL TO YOUNG TO READ, AND HAVE THEM ASKING FOR MORE AS EACH CHAPTER ENDS.
THE WRITING IS BEAUTIFUL - THE ILLUSTRATIONS FABULOUSLY 18TH CENTURY IN APPEARANCE
A TOTALLY ORIGINAL STORY, FILLED WITH FABULOUS CHARACTERS BOTH HUMAN AN IMAGINED. A LOVE STORY, AN ADVENTURE, A PAGE TURNER!
A BOOK DESTINED TO BECOME A CLASSIC.
on December 18, 2015
I am giving this book a mediocre review, but not because it is a bad book. It is actually quite intriguing and well-written. However, it is *not* appropriate for young (or older sensitive) children, and a lot of these other reviews are very deceiving.
I bought it for my 6 year old daughter, and this is something I regret as I am going to have to put the book away after we started reading it. The prologue and first two chapters are excellent. They are reminiscent of a fairy tale mixed with more popular classics like 'Wizard of Oz," "Mary Poppins" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
By the third chapter, we are reading about a sadistic warlock who tortures a sentient mouse and kills it by throwing its body against a wall. Then he summons roaches to eat its body. I read through it fast and my daughter doesn't frighten easily--or we would have stopped right ther. After she went to bed, I read ahead a little, because I was concerned about this scene.
One of the main characters is grievously harmed in front of her love (who was forced to watch) by being smashed against an iron fence. Then warlock summoned a flock of evil birds to tear apart. At the end of this chapter, Santa "closed her lidless eyes."
I am not a mom who hides my child in bubble wrap or sugarcoats the world (ex - I will read my daughter "Harry Potter" and "The Witch, the Lion and the Wardrobe), but I am very shocked people are reading this to young children. I would not recommend this to a child under 10--and some sensitive 10+ year olds may find it too scary. I plan to finish the book myself (it is actually very good for an older reader), but feel sad I need to shelve it from my daughter until she is older. She reads way too well for me to verbally edit it.
on January 14, 2005
WHAT GREAT READ!! It is a wonderful tale that takes the reader to a place they could only imagine before, but can now see it through the eyes of Holly Claus. As a family, we read it as fast as we could to follow Holly through her exciting adventure. We then read it again, taking in even more of the hopeful inspiration it offers along the way. As the mother of an imaginative, nine year old girl,(and a real book hound!), I was so happy to find a book that offers such a wonderfully engaging heroine, with the values and morals that we try to instill everyday, yet so adventurous in spirit. The author, Brittney Ryan, has done that, without preaching, but with the wonderful voice of Holly Claus. We have given it to my daughter's friends as gifts., They too have enjoyed the story immensely. This book should be read as a family, there is something for all to enjoy! It is a family favorite of ours.
on April 7, 2006
A beautifully written book. It is a true Classic. There are parts which are poetic melancholy to touch your heart,and other pieces of joyful energy to stir your soul.
The Legend of Holly Claus is masterfully crafted with incredible illustrations. I would recomend it for all ages.
on December 20, 2010
In the land of Forever, Nicholas Claus is king and rules with a kind, lovable, and steady hand. When a little boy in New York City sends Nicholas a letter, asking Santa what he wants for Christmas, Nicholas is shocked. However, he snatches the opportunity with both hands and wishes for a daughter. Holly Claus is born to him and his wife, Viviana, soon after. She is a darling child, perfect in every way. Her beauty, even as a baby, cannot be compared to. Her kindness, as she grows up, is the greatest kindness the immortals have ever beheld. Her love, throughout her life, is destined to conquer time.
But as a baby a curse is laid on her by the evil Herrikhan, who has been banished to Odyl for his wicked doings in the world of the mortals. However, in order to release himself, someone who has a pure, undefiled heart must give her heart to him. When Holly is born, Herrikhan takes the opportunity and encases her heart in ice, preserving her love and purity and kindness so that she will one day fall in love with him and give him her heart, and in turn release Herrikhan forever. But how long can Holly stay away from the mortal world, where she longs to be? And how long can her heart stay frozen before something tragic happens?
This is an epic book. This is the kind of book I strive to write; it's also the kind of book I desire to read when I want something original. A story that will tell me something new. I don't know who wouldn't want to write/read a book like this. It holds everything: power, redemption, evil, romance, mystery, intrigue, amazing kindness, and a love that conquers all. This book is...essentially...perfect. Her writing, while not my absolute favorite, was undeniably full of talent and grace and a beautiful style. From the time Holly is a baby to when she meets Jeremy, Mr. Carrol, Mr. Kleiner, and Mr. Hartman, she is transformed from a sweet baby to a beautiful and dear young woman. And in their own way and with their own personality, the other characters are built with magnificence - a perfect mixture of magic and reality.
A good example of this would be the king of Forever - Nicholas, or Santa Claus, as we know him best. I was worried he would be cliché, "that big jolly guy" kind of stuff. He is kind and jolly, yes, but he is far more than that. Brittney Ryan kept Nicholas' jolliness without turning him into the Santa that talks to kids in your local mall. He was his own person, a human (however immortal he may be), and a husband and father who had personal cares. Brittney Ryan transformed him from Santa to Nicholas, the greatest thing she could have done in this case. But all characters possessed this amazing personality that could have been terribly cliché.
This book also lives up to its name: The Legend of Holly Claus. Yes, it is a pure legend, from the first word to the last. Brittney Ryan wrote a seamless work of art that lives up to every reader's expectation of what a good legend should be like. How can a 550 paged legend be so fascinating? is a question I've often asked myself. And "Holly Claus" is the answer to that question.
Another thing that I loved is that there is no Jack Frost or Frosty the Snowman. As much as I love those characters, it was so wonderful to have something new. Herrikhan is evil, wicked, and terrifying. Holly is as lively as a bird in the morning. Despite her icy heart, she never loses sight of the greatest object in life - serving others. So she uses her talent of making dolls to serve the world around her... But of course, I won't say anymore. You'll have to read it. (Side note: Unfortunately, I can't delve into my favorite character, whose name I won't even mention. If you read the book, you will understand and will love this character just as much as I do. I just don't want to ruin the ending for you!)
One word to describe this book: enchanting. Lovely, wonderful, magic, and good-enough-to-give-you-goose-bumps will do it, too. I'm listing this book in my "Classics" category, because it is a classic. It holds everything anyone could ask for in a Christmas book, and more besides. (It's not just a seasonal book, either. I'd read it in the dead of summer!) I will surely read it again, most likely next Christmas, and I already look forward to snuggling up with a blanket and tea to read this irresistible classic.
on January 31, 2015
“Outside, the afternoon grew darker, and the icy rain began to fall. Inside the sound of wailing babies and the sour smell of thin soup wafted through the flimsy walls. Absorbed in the magic of making, Christopher noticed none of it…”
The title and cover grabbed me first. The language drew me in, like a Dicksonian memory, and the story itself captured me completely. This is a story of Santa’s gift, not one he gives but one he receives, and a curse, one to rival Maleficent and just as destined to spawn enchantment. And a book, the kind in which we should all hope to find our story and a quest. A quest to be something more, to do something worthy, to be recorded in the annals of a great book. Brittany Ryan has woven a timeless classic for the holidays one sure to take it’s place next to A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker. Especially the Nutcracker in that she in like manner whisks us to a wondrous land of fantasy (but only after adeptly planting us in the reality of 19th century New York.) In Forever, The Land of the Immortals, Brittany invites us to meet fantastic creatures from every spring of myth and legend. Here we meet...
Holly, innocent and pure, she is the perfect blend of compassion and courage.
Nicholas not just a jolly old soul but a prudent, caring, majestic figure who wears the crown of Forever with dignity and is a force to be reckoned with.
Tundra my favorite, and not just because he is a wolf. He is the epitome of loyalty, steadfastness and sacrifice.
Sofya the wise, mysterious mentor who both preserves and challenges Holly.
Melchior who redefines our concept of “goblin.”
Holly’s companions on her quest an owl, a penguin and a fox who befriend her and prepare her for her journey.
Herrikhan, vengeful, cunning, mad and cruel, eager to bring ruin to Forever and Christmas...
And here enters the evil. If Brittany’s voice can charm us with echo’s of Dicken’s and Else Homelund Minarik, it can also shock and abhor us when it comes to Herrikhan. The contrast can be jolting at times which I think works in the stories favor, after all Herrikhan is horrifying, a brutality, cold and dark, come to invade the warmth and light we hold as Christmas.
Holly Clause does what the great books of Christmas do… it instills wonder, kindles the spirit and leaves us warm inside. Read it… at Christmas or anytime of the year when you can use a little Christmas magic.
We first found The Legend of Holly Claus as an amazingly well illustrated picture book. That version is streamlined and very worthwhile, as it touches on the key points and uses artwork to move the story along. Recently, the longer book became available on Kindle, so my 10 year-old chose to get it, looking to read the full version. She just loved it. Gaining more insight into the reason characters behave the way they do, as well as the quality writing, make this book worth reading. If you like fairy tales, myths, and suspended reality, then I encourage you to read The Legend of Holly Claus.