The Girl Who Saved Christmas

William Thomas Thach, illus. by Richard Bernal. Bowrider Press (www.mollychristmas.com), $24 (32p) ISBN 978-0-9825663-1-2
With a red velvet cover, diarylike clasp, and ribbon bookmark, this handsome book offers a somewhat gloomy and moralistic take on "The Night Before Christmas." Thach's verse introduces a wistful and friendless girl named Molly, who tells her pet mouse, "Nobody likes me. They all call me names./ They never invite me to play in their games." At the North Pole, Santa fumes as he discovers that no child has been nice this year, and he replaces the presents in his sleigh with coal. Landing at Molly's house, Santa rechecks his list and finds that Molly is the one "good" child—"One sweet little girl in a world that was rotten!" She requests that he pardon the other children, noting, "This date marks the birth of a glorious child" who "brought us a message by which we should live—/ He taught us it's best if we learn to forgive!" Bernal's luminous, glossy paintings have a warm, traditional quality that pairs nicely with the narrative. As Santa and Molly fly off to retrieve the presents from the North Pole, the story ends with the promise of a sequel. Ages 2–6.
Reviewed on: 01/27/2014
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