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AN ORNAMENTS' TALE

Author: Chet Spiewak

Illustrator: Chet Spiewak

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: CWS Studios, Inc., ©2006

Material: hard cover

Summary: The Christmas tree is here, and the ornaments are rarin' to go to help spread Christmas cheer. But the Halloween decorations still have tricks left over, and decide to play one on Percy and his friends. It's now Christmas Eve and the ornaments are still in the attic. Will they miss Christmas this year? This is a seasonal story that answers a child's questions about how decorations live the rest of the year.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, middle grade reader

Recommended Age: 4 to 8

Age of Child: Started reading with 5-year-old child. Also shared with Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: Our preschooler was intrigued by the story. The fact that the ornaments talked was no surprise to her...of course they do! S/He and Daddy have been reading this every night for more than a week. Teen Reviewer: overall, this is a well-written and illustrated Christmas tale for children. The characters and their emotions are described in realistic, descriptive, and kid-friendly language. The colorful illustrations also add to the plot and experience of reading a Christmas story. The book also has a very good moral, which is that often having friends and being nice to them gives you a warmer feeling of friendship than tricking them or being mean. However, I think that the ornaments’ emotions at the end of the story could have been described in more depth to create a larger contrast between the changes in their moods. Also, it would have been better if the Halloween ornaments had not realized the real meaning of Christmas so quickly, which would increase the sense of accomplishment and change of the Halloween ornaments’ attitudes. This book would be enjoyed by children ages 6-7 and would mostly be read at home. The plot is not classical but rather original, making this a good Christmas storybook for children.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a fun story with great potential. The illustrations add "action" to a story that is largely dialogue. Even though they are "stills," their quality is such that you can envision the characters in motion. Dad, in particular, likes this story.

Pros: This is a story built around the toys-come-to-life theme. The interaction between the holiday decorations, and what the characters of each season know/don't know about friendship adds a wonderful dimension to a seasonal tale.

Cons: It would have been nice to have a little more depth to the persona of the ornaments ... why is Percy the leader? Why does Spencer stutter: fear or disability?

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Although you are most likely to read this during the holidays, it is a year-round book. Like pulling a favorite ornament from the box, your kids are probably going to want to read this one over and over.

If You Liked This Book, Try: LITTLE WHISTLE'S CHRISTMAS   RIVER DRAGON; A REAL FLORIDA FAIRY TALE   SNOWMEN AT NIGHT

Educational Themes: The value of the story goes well beyond Christmas. It offers opportunities to introduce or discuss compassion and empathy (understanding why Halloween decorations are the way they are), friendship and communication, and last but not least, teamwork.

Literary Categories: Fiction - holiday, picture book, fantasy

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2006

Other Reviews: See reader feedback at borders.com. No Critics' Reviews found at bn.com (Barnes & Noble) or borders. We’re interested in your review. Please enter your Name (and blog in Parenthesis), then copy/paste your post link in the URL field. With a link exchange, we both benefit because interested readers can visit you too!




                 

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