cover image On Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve

Ann Matthews Martin, , read by Alison Fraser. . Listening Library, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-3719-6

Comforting family traditions and the exciting, true magic of Christmas crackles through Martin's brief, heartfelt novel set in the late 1950s. Fraser's youthful voice is key in portraying the hope, determination and confident belief in all things wonderful demonstrated by third-grade protagonist Tess. Listeners will share Tess's heart-pounding anticipation as she waits for the real Santa, who she is sure can deliver a holiday miracle for her best friend, Sarah, whose father is stricken with cancer. Sounding sweet but never saccharine, Fraser captures both the spunkiness and sorrow that turn this into both a realistic-sounding tale, and one that serves as an explanation for why so many people of all ages perpetually embrace holiday magic. Ages 9-up. (Oct.)