Is there a child, preferably a little girl, whom you would like to become excited over the reading of books? Well, 'tis the Christmas gift-giving season, and William Thomas Thach has written a tale that rivals the time worn The Night Before Christmas . It definitely is just as captivating. The Girl Who Saved Christmas written in rhyme in the style of the classic credited to Clement Clark Moore in the mid nineteenth century, not only introduces Santa and one of his elves to the reader, but also a young girl named Molly McAme and her pet mouse Nibbles.
One realizes that the book covered in regal red velvet is very special. When undoing the snap closure to reveal the contents inside, a place to personalize the book hits the eye along with a narrow gold page marker. There is a glossary for learning new vocabulary at the back of the book along with a place to send a personalized message to the guy in the red suit.
Thach's modern rendition appropriately illustrated by Richard Bernal goes beyond the here-comes-Santa tale, introducing a bespectacled somewhat plain-looking girl who laments over not being liked.
"Nobody likes me. They call me names. They never invite me to play their games.....," Molly says, hoping to do something that would make herself less bullied and more accepted as a friend.
When Santa's elf provides him with a list of children around the world that broke the rule to be good, fuming, Santa decides to punish them by leaving all the presents behind and instead loading his sleigh with buckets of coal. Luckily, Thach writes that almost all the chimneys were boarded up due to a terrible snowstorm. Santa can't carry out his vindictiveness at any of the homes...but one.
Stepping from the hearth where Molly lives, Santa is suitably covered with ash. Determining that Molly has been good, he forgets his wrath and offers her elaborate gifts, including "a pair of glass slippers with platinum tassels" or "a trip on a ship bound for far away castles."But Molly turns the recovered jolly old guy down, reminding him of the true meaning of Christmas--a time to be merry but never forgetting the message Jesus would bring: forgiveness. So, instead of accepting a promise of gifts, Molly tells Santa she would like to help him deliver the gifts to the other boys and girls.
The final words, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!" take on more meaning than that of the Moore poem. The Girl Who Saved Christmas is destined to become part of a new Christmas tradition--to be read over and over again.
Title: The Girl Who Saved Christmas
Author: William Thomas Thach
Illustrator: Richard Bernal
Hardcover: 32 pages/$24 at amazon.com
Publisher: Bowrider Press LLC; 1ST edition (2014)