Review Blog

Dec 22 2017

One Christmas wish by Katherine Rundell

cover image

Ill. by Emily Sutton. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408885734
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Christmas, Loneliness, Sharing, Decorations, Friends, Family. A modern fable, this story tells of a young boy's wish at Christmas and how his wish is fulfilled when he sees a star falling across the night sky.
It is Christmas Eve and he has been left with a new babysitter who falls asleep over her mobile phone in the kitchen. He takes the decorations from the strongly sellotaped box to hang on the tree, and is dismayed all over again that his parents have not replaced the broken ones. He attaches the damaged baubles and finds four more decorations at the bottom of the box: a toy soldier with a rusty drum, a fairy with damaged wings, a wooden horse on worm eaten rockers and a a bedraggled robin.
After he wishes on the falling star, he hears voices behind him and is amazed to see the four decorations asking for help to come down from the tree. From there the excitement of Christmas Eve, making friends and sharing with others takes on a reality of heartfelt proportions as Theo finds ways of making his friends happy. The horse is unscrewed from its rockers, and the robin helped to find someone who will teach it to sing as the five make their way to Mrs Goodyere's house. The robin stays to help her celebrate Christmas, remembering her dead husband, Arthur while she helps the robin sing. They find feathers along the way to repair the fairy's wings, and the tin soldier asks for help in finding someone to love. Theo cleans up his drum, and they head to the doll shop where they find a princess waiting for him. He leaves them guarding the infant in the manger in the town square while the horse makes its way into the sky. When Theo returns home, some magic happens for him as well when his parents return sooner than everyone expected after seeing a horse flying through the night sky and making them feel that they should return home to be with their family.
The warmth of the story is reflected in the detailed illustrations, reminiscent of books from long ago, with lots of Christmasy customs and images to pour over. Readers of all ages will get a thrill reading this lovely witty story and stopping to soak up the marvelous illustrations.
Fran Knight

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