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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Have you ever shared a “when I was your age” story with your children? How about a collection of stories about a special Christmas when you learned the powerful gift of giving rather than receiving? Perhaps it’s a daily story to be shared at bedtime or storytime, a story with a fantastical plot that develops in fun and adventure as it revolves around the most magical day of the year. With Christmas Special: A Diary of Bedtime Stories by Jill Vance, you will be sharing a gem with your young family and they will enjoy every minute of their parents' walk down memory lane. The plot follows the mother as a young girl as she uses her allotted money to find the perfect gifts for her parents – she has to find eight gifts for each. At first, it’s relatively easy, but then when the money dwindles, she has to find a way to buy the remaining gifts. In comes the friendly squirrel storekeeper and there’s magic in the air, with a lot of bartering and good fun. The tale is complete with a few magical creatures to add to the mix, like the squirrel who runs a gift store with super gifts to purchase for someone special, all paid for in acorns. Ah! Now, if only that squirrel lived nearby, as I do have a lot of acorns.
Jill Vance’s seasonal children’s book, Christmas Special, is a compendium of diary-like entries that, when combined, create a wonderful story for that special season of the year. The author writes in the first person and the story begins on Monday night, the week before Christmas. It’s bedtime and the girls snuggle in for the much anticipated nightly storytime routine. However, once the tale begins, they can’t wait for the next installment, and neither can the reader. The telling is periodically interrupted by the listening girls asking their mother questions. Of course, as is the case with any good storyteller, the children slip off to dreamland before the night’s installment is complete, but are eager for the following night and the much-anticipated continuation of the unfolding drama. This is a sweet, charming story that will appeal to the child in all of us. It’s a classic, a real treasure. Love the illustrations.