Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
What an amazing and magical little gem appears for the holidays in Janie Gets a Genie for Christmas by David Blaze. This may be a children’s book, but like any truly great one, Janie Gets a Genie also targets the adult perspective – not to mention adult nostalgia for simple goodness – by speaking clearly, precisely, and honestly about the issues that, perhaps not for the best, turn children into later, adult-defined selves. Just so, we are introduced to Janie, the narrator, who already knows the honesty of unpopularity, of being imperfectly overweight, who wishes things were different, but in her too-big-hearted way wishes even more for others. While last minute Christmas shopping with her mother, Janie comes upon a magic tea kettle. Okay, a golden lamp. Of course, there is a genie abiding somewhere inside. Just not the one you might expect. His name is Micah.
To go further into the plot line of Janie Gets a Genie for Christmas would be to dissipate the fun and magic of David Blaze’s truly delightful book. The story told is written with such pure conciseness that one is surprisingly impressed with how quickly it becomes relevant to one’s own heart. The author manages to poke the reader with precious little plot twists meant to avoid both familiar expectations and, worse, the disappointments of cliché. And the always necessary lesson(s) to be found in any great children’s book is revealed in this one to be the practicality of goodness, with a tiny glimpse at how the world works when such goodness is sincerely practiced. Most of all, like this magical little book itself, the surprises to be had on Christmas morning when one truly does not expect them or demand them.