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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Zach's Quest: A Tale for Christmas is a holiday-themed children’s picture book written by Matt and Melanie Dragovits and illustrated by J.J. Varabkanich and Irma Torre. Santa and his elves were hard at work making toys and other gifts as Christmas Eve drew closer. Zach, a young and hapless elf, was the lone exception. He loved being part of Santa’s team, but he seemed to break everything he touched. When Santa suggested Zach focus on doing one thing, Zach had a flash of inspiration. He would help with the Divine Reactor which drew energy from the Star of Bethlehem and powered Santa’s workshop. And, of course, Zach broke that as well. His impetuous twisting and turning of knobs and levers resulted in a burnt-out crystal which was the heart of the reactor. When the elves realized what had happened, they flew into a panic -- what could they do without the power needed to continue their work? What would happen to Christmas?
I love quest fantasy adventures and was thrilled to discover Zach's Quest. Matt and Melanie Dragovits combine elements from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit quest fantasies, and James Bond fans will smile as Edmund presents Zach with a high-tech hammer. Zach’s Quest is destined to be a classic and a favorite not only for young readers but for parents and caregivers who’ll appreciate the dynamic tension, action, and adventure found within the pages of this deceptively slim volume. Oh, yes, and as with every quest, Zach comes of age during his great challenge and discovers one thing he’s quite good at -- saving Christmas. The Dragovits’ have come up with a marvelous plot, compelling characters, and convincing villains, and illustrators J.J. Varabkanich and Irma Torre did a splendid job of making the story come to life with their dramatic and feature-rich artwork. I especially enjoyed their outdoors and nature scenes, the images of the evil goblin king, Grife, and those panels which showcase Santa’s reindeer. And woven throughout the text is the reason for the season -- the birth of Jesus Christ. Zach's Quest: A Tale for Christmas is most highly recommended.