The Wonderful Once

A Christmas Story

Children - Grade K-3rd
40 Pages
Reviewed on 10/03/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John Buchta was born and raised in Philadelphia PA.

As a youngster, he expressed an interest in music and spent most of his early life in the performing arts as a singer-songwriter.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he entered the business world and made a career in marketing for various entrepreneurial ventures.

His interest in writing took a turn towards children's books when his grandchildren were born and he recognized the power of their imaginations and their enjoyment of reading.

Memories of his childhood and the spirit of his father’s character and penchant for a good story or poem inspire his writing.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

The Wonderful Once: A Christmas Story by JR Buchta is a wonderful children’s story. A special home for children without parents is in a lovely, friendly village. Well looked after, the children are happily waiting for their forever homes. At the annual Christmas Festival, all the children chose a present from a waiting stack. Lucas, the youngest, picked a small gift he would treasure with all his heart. When a young girl is brought to the home, Lucas does an act of kindness that sets him off on a magical adventure. The Spirit of Giving visits him, and together, they start a new tradition that will last a lifetime.

The Wonderful Once: A Christmas Story by JR Buchta is a lovely story with some amazing illustrations that bring it to life before your very eyes. It’s a well-written tale with an important message—kindness costs nothing, and the effects of one simple, selfless act are never-ending. This is a proper feel-good read that will warm your heart, and the ending is a real surprise. This is only a short story, but it will stay with you for a long time and packs a powerful punch. It’s something kids can read every year at Christmastime, and it will continue to wow them with each year that passes. The story teaches that selfless acts reap rewards; perhaps a few adults could learn the same lesson. Overall, a great read, well written and wonderfully illustrated—a must-have in kids’ libraries worldwide.

Luwi Nyakansaila

The Wonderful Once: A Christmas Story is a children’s picture book by JR Buchta about the power of giving. In a small village, there was an orphanage with children who loved celebrating Christmas every year because the villagers brought them presents and food. One Christmas, one of the children, Lucas, selects a gift from the pile brought by the villagers, a beautiful sleigh that he instantly loves and cherishes. As the festivities continue, all the children select presents, and none are left. Unfortunately, a man brings a new girl to the orphanage. She looks sad, and everyone tries to make her happy, but she does not cheer up. Lucas decides to give her his gift, which instantly brings a smile to her face. This simple act makes him feel an emotion he has never felt before, and that night as he reflects on this new feeling, a magical being visits Lucas and wants to make his dreams come true.

The Wonderful Once: A Christmas Story is a heartwarming story with a powerful message. JR Buchta is an amazing storyteller who used creativity and an amazing plot twist to keep me captivated. The story explores the feeling that comes with giving and teaches children that giving is a beautiful and happy experience. The author uses simple words, making it easy for young readers to understand. Lucas is adorable, and I enjoyed seeing his evolution and surprising destiny. The book also contains colorful illustrations with a Christmas theme by Erin O’Leary Brown. The twinkling sparkles, snowy weather, and wrapped presents gave the book a festive vibe. I loved reading this book and highly recommend it to all young readers who enjoy Christmas stories.

Maria Victoria Beltran

The Wonderful Once: A Christmas Story is a delightful children's story written for K-3rd children by JR Buchta. The story unravels in a small village populated with friendly people and carefree children. In the middle of the village, a special school cares for boys and girls who don’t have a home. Most children spend only a short time here before loving parents adopt them. Every year, the townsfolk celebrate the annual winter festival with a big feast and a gift-giving tradition. In this year’s festival, Lucas, the youngest child, has the privilege to choose the first box from the pile of gifts and he’s very happy with the beautiful, hand-carved sleigh that he got. As the party continues, a sad little homeless girl arrives who needs to stay at the school until she’s adopted. To make her happy, Lucas gives her the hand-carved sleigh. What follows is a magical journey with Lucas as he discovers the power of generosity.

JR Buchta’s The Wonderful Once is a heartwarming tale that evokes a sense of wonder and inspires readers to learn the true meaning of Christmas. It is perfect for readers of all ages, making it an ideal choice for family read-aloud sessions during the holiday season. Beautifully illustrated by Erin O'Leary Brown, the beauty and enchantment of the story comes alive. As Lucas is visited by a magical being and whisked away on a wondrous adventure guided by stardust and snowflakes, the book offers a fresh perspective on age-old traditions. This is a tale that should start conversations about the importance of giving and spreading kindness. Ultimately, The Wonderful Once is a captivating and feel-good tale for readers of all ages, reminding us all of the transformative power of selflessness and the magic of the Christmas spirit.