Sunday, December 06, 2009

Secrets of a Christmas Box

The Christmas concert last was, as usual, superb. I do wish the director would make it a bit more original each year, but I always look forward to the section with children's songs and the solos by the students. This year featured students playing the harp, violin and piano, and the band teacher providing some accompaniment by trumpet. It's definitely more than your average high school Christmas concert.

Molly sang O Come O Come Emmanuel, which is one of my very favorite carols. She had one squeaky spot which she acknowledged with a smile, otherwise it was her best performance yet. Her voice was pure and strong. Several of her friends did solos as well, including a rendition of Gesu Bambino that gave me chills. I don't have any pictures of Molly singing her solo because I recorded it instead, and then once she was on stage, I couldn't take flash pictures, so I didn't get many good ones.

Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby is a perfect read aloud story for families. The tree-dwellers wake up each year after being placed on the Christmas tree and circle the branches looking for old friends and meeting new ones. Larry the snowman and Debbie the reindeer girl are thrilled to see each other again but devastated to find that Larry's brother is missing. Along with newcomer Splint, a wooden soldier, they break the rules of the Elder and leave the tree to find their sleeping place, the Christmas Box, in hopes of discovering a clue. The story begins as a charming imaginative tale about what happens on the Christmas tree when everyone has gone to sleep, but transforms into a gripping thriller, still appropriate for children, about the meaning of friendship. There are a few slightly scary spots, making this appropriate for ages 6 and up, but the story is compelling and kids will love the idea that their tree comes to life each night.

Thank you to Ecky Thump Books (isn't that the coolest name?) for providing me with a copy of this book for review.