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THE LUMP OF COAL by Lemony Snicket


by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-157428-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

One might say that Snicket, author of the wildly successful A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Helquist, the illustrator of same, have diminished their talents with this short, illustrated Christmas story about a talking lump of coal. Suspend judgment here, dear reader, and remember that in the hands of a clever writer almost anything can become a character. This particular lump of coal has artistic aspirations, dresses in a suit and bow tie and not only reads but speaks in complete sentences as well, unlike most lumps of coal. Minor miracles occur when the lump of coal and a teenage boy combine their creative abilities, resulting in artistic works that sell for enormous amounts, leading to travel and business success. A final page speaks gently of the value of all minor miracles, especially at Christmas. The volume’s size, as well as the book in general, may strike many as diminutive, which here means small in stature, but make no mistake as to its usefulness, as many a Christmas stocking will accept such an endeavor in lieu of a real lump of coal. (Picture book. 8 & up)