As Christmas approaches, a girl wonders why she doesn’t feel the holiday spirit in this illustrated children’s book.
With November beginning, spooky decorations are coming down and Santa-themed displays are going up. But for some reason, Grace, a white girl with blond hair, isn’t excited. Her older sister, who lives far away, sends her a chocolate-filled Advent calendar; last year, they tore open each door together, but now the candy just makes Grace feel sick. None of the usual holiday preparations, such as writing a letter to Santa, decorating the tree, or going to see the film It’s a Wonderful Life, get Grace in the mood: “Everyone feels Christmassy, everyone but me. / And there still isn’t even a star on our tree!” But on Christmas Eve, there’s a surprise arrival, and Grace at last feels “Christmassy.” In his debut children’s book, McGinty, a Scottish musician and writer, beautifully sympathizes with kids whose Christmas season feels lonely after an older sibling has left home. The subtle message, ably expressed in rhyming couplets, is that Christmas is truly about family. Debut illustrator Hunter’s skillful watercolor illustrations are varied and expressive, as in a charming spread showing Grace’s home with one side cut away, like a dollhouse’s.
Sweet but not saccharine reassurance for lonely younger siblings at Christmastime.