cover image One Christmas Wish

One Christmas Wish

Katherine Rundell, illus. by Emily Sutton. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9161-7

Left alone by his preoccupied parents on Christmas Eve, Theo discovers four worn ornaments at the bottom of the decoration box: a tin soldier, an angel, a rocking horse, and a robin. Then a shooting star blazes by. “I wish to be un-alone,” Theo says aloud. Instantly, the decorations come to life. The rocking horse eats everything in sight (“pine needles, electrical cables, and the bottoms of curtains”), the robin yearns to sing, the angel to fly, and the tin soldier to find his love. Rundell (The Explorer) spins her tale with British civility (“Sorry,” Theo apologizes as the Christmas ornaments lay waste to his piano teacher’s sitting room, “Sorry!”), and the group’s exchanges provide smiles (“I have a feeling you’re supposed to brush your hair if you’re hoping to fall in love,” the soldier worries). With delicately brushed lines, detailed ink-and-watercolor vignettes by Sutton (A First Book of the Sea) supply just the right snow-covered, holly-sprigged atmosphere for a series of magical transformations—and some very real love. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)