Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE GIFT by Lila Ellexson Senter

THE GIFT

By Lila Ellexson Senter

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1434910882
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Senter pairs her Christmas poems, as well as various religious and inspirational quotes, with artwork done by friends.

Originally written by Senter as “word gifts” for the holiday season, the poems include Christian messages and wishes in a sentimental but sincere voice. Senter writes about God and the birth of Jesus Christ and includes biblical messages about how his arrival changed the world. Some of the common yuletide themes are love, hope, joy, and peace.  Although structured visually as poems, the verses are free-form for the most part, suitable for inclusion in Christmas cards (they were originally included by the author in cards to her friends). Their structure is only slightly more complex than many seasonal greeting cards; the collection makes no pretense to be an academic or literary collection. A few poems exhibit real originality in either content or form, but they’re unusual in this assemblage of otherwise fairly similarly toned messages. Senter, a supporter of the Abilene, Texas, Hope Haven, a center for homeless individuals and their families, originally collected these poems and artwork into this debut volume to benefit the center, and this festive and hopeful slim book seems destined for stockings or packages tucked beneath grandparents’ Christmas trees. The black and white artwork portrays a wide variety of media including computer graphics, photography, needlepoint, mixed-media collages, oils, acrylics, pen and ink and stencil. The images turn what would otherwise be a somewhat repetitious assemblage of Christmas greetings and quotes into a genuinely easy-to-flip-through compilation bursting with the joy that accompanies a sincere and strong faith. Unfortunately, the bulk of the artwork appears on the right-hand page with the text facing, which makes for awkward handling while reading and a visually static design.

For Christmas greetings, the sentiments ring sincere.