The Christmas Secret

David Delamare, Author Simon & Schuster $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-74822-7
Richardson the lion, an ex-sailor, is paid a visit by his old captain, Quilty the pelican, 24 days before Christmas. The bird tells his former mate that a tremendous blizzard is coming, and Richardson uses his seafaring skills to determine that the storm will arrive on Christmas Eve. Fearful that Santa won't be able to get through the snow, Richardson enlists the help of a mouse friend named Tag and makes all the toys needed for Christmas. His heroism does not go unnoticed: the lion awakens Christmas morning at the North Pole and finds that Santa has a job to offer him. Less would probably have been more in this holiday book, as the tale includes too many insignificant characters and plot digressions, and the stylized illustrations are overcrowded with detail. Delamare's ( The Hawk's Tale ) anthropomorphized animals are a strange mix of human and beastly qualities; they all have five fingers and walk about on two legs, but their heads are animal-like (though the eyes are startlingly human). Still, the book has an old-fashioned feel, and it may appeal to lovers of sentimental Christmas stories. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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