by Brittney Ryan, published 2004
“It is a failure of courage, and worse yet, a failure of love to relinquish your dreams so easily…Each of us holds within his soul the ability to conquer sorrow, fear, and misery with charity, compassion, and wisdom…. You must find a way to use what your soul knows.”
Thanks to my friend Jennifer, I read this children’s book just in time for the Christmas season. If ever there was a children’s book that conveys the deeper meaning of the holiday, this is it. The power of faith in one’s dreams, faith in oneself, and faith in goodness, pour out of every page of this book. In addition, the characters often offer immense wisdom, far beyond what I would have expected in a children’s book.
The most inspirational aspect of the book is that it creates an indelible image of the power of goodness and love. The theme, vividly illustrated through the story, demonstrates that love conquers not just time, but evil, sorrow, and innumerable other ills. Pure Love is contagious, a disease worth catching.
If there is one hesitation I have about the book, it is my discomfort from the fear engendered as I read about an embodiment of evil trying to destroy the pure and loving presence of Holly Claus, who is Nicholas (Santa) Claus’s daughter. The book paints such a compelling picture of goodness, that the contrasting evil character is much stronger and scarier (to me.) I reached a point where I wasn’t sure I could bear to read any more, as I feared for the outcome. However, in the light of day, I summoned my courage and finished the book, which ended with so much beauty and heroism that all darkness was cleared away. The book reminds us that life is neither all good nor all bad, and has a mixture of both. I share this in case you have a sensitive child.
I’m glad I stayed with this book, which at 518 pages in paperback, is a substantial commitment. It is well worth it, however, as it is a unique, one-of-a-kind magical reading experience.