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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.
4 helpful votes
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on November 16, 2012
The story's felicity of language adds to the pleasure of reading.
Each character provides incentive for family discussion, encouraging further
exploration of history and mythology.

Vivid characterization supports remembrance of classical names and natures for
minds that appreciate education. (Suggestion: Peruse the character list or
glossary first.)

While framed in fantasy, the story depicts practical scenarios that illustrate
such constructive values as mutual helpfulness and the wise defeat of wrong.

The writing combines a far-ranging vocabulary with a mastery of image and
phrase, a delight to experience in depth.
1 helpful vote
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on December 10, 2015
This book encompasses the whimsical and enchanting feeling that comes with fantasy. It is such a sweet story, with so many endearing qualities, there were times I was laughing! And times where I cried. I loved the theme of the book, and to be honest, this book has made me want to be a better person! An excellent Christmas read but you could read it any time of the year!
1 helpful vote
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on January 11, 2013
I love this story it is so amazing! It is very well written and I love the pictures. I will definitely read these to my children someday. It is a long book over 300 pages so if you have kids you could read it to the them months of November and/or December. Read a chapter a night or so. So, so good!
1 helpful vote
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on July 6, 2006
I became interested in this book the moment I spotted it. I love holiday stories, and Laurel Long's breathtaking illustrations, inside and out, made it worth a try. I was not disappointed! I teared up more than once, for different reasons, while reading, and never once regretted picking it up. In fact, I had trouble putting it down!

Drawing from many existing ideas about Santa, and fantasy themes, Brittney Ryan has produced a lovely fairy tale like story. The villain is more Grimm than Disney, for which I applaud the author, but it does make the story appropriate for more mature children than younger ones.

Thank you Brittney Ryan, and thank you to the Julie Andrews Collection!
6 helpful votes
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on March 8, 2013
This is a beautiful story, wonderfully told. A new Christmas legend is born. The characters are well developed. It's very mature and better than what I think of for many "children's" stories. I don't even think of it as a children's story. I'm an adult and I'm now reading it for the second time. This story is classy and brings dignity back to the Santa Claus legend and puts an intriguing addition to it. A perfectly wonderful read and something that will make you respect Christmas again.
1 helpful vote
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on January 10, 2017
A story that one can easily imagine a family sitting around a fireplace, all listening intently as the adventure unfolds, a preferred event each night over the silent television.
1 helpful vote
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on June 23, 2014
This book was a suggested read by my eleven year old granddaughter, who has read it three or four times. Without question it is an enjoyable book. Since she always has to check it out at the library, I gave her this one when I was finished reading it. One little bonus is the beautiful illustrations.
1 helpful vote
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on December 20, 2012
The book is very well written and imaginative. I have been reading this book and did not stop until I got to the end. the author is very detailed in how it is written and I give full credit on the continuing surprises found throughout the book. It is very neat how the author is able to fill in the legend of santa Claus and it is very seamless in the storyline.
2 helpful votes
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on December 29, 2016
Everyone should read this very compelling tale, no matter what your age is. You will be swept into an amazing mixture of fantasy and reality.
1 helpful vote
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