Folks, I have been saving this book for a year and it is finally time to share it. I won my copy in a giveaway by Good Books for Young Souls last Christmas, but because I went out of town for the holidays, I didn’t have a chance to open it up until after we’d gotten back in January, and by then it was too late to put up on the blog. SO, after lovingly squirreling it away for twelve months, I have my chance to write about it.
Let me preface this by saying that lately I have a, well, I guess you could call it an obsession, with all things Scandinavian. Perhaps it’s the bright white-ness of the snow now that I’m back in the midwest, but especially with Christmas time decorating, I’m sticking with red on white, tomtens, and I’m even thinking of making my mother in law’s julekake recipe. I saw a book about Dala horses at the library on Monday and positively pounced on it. And it was wonderful, but this book…this book is so fresh, so gorgeous, just so full of everything Christmas-y and wonderful.
The Christmas Wish is a family creation, written by Lori Evert, photographs by her husband, award-winning Norwegian photographer Per Breiehagen, and starring their daughter Anja.
Anja is a small girl who wishes more than anything to be one of Santa’s Elves. After finishing up her chores, kindly helping a lonely elderly neighbor clean up and decorate for Christmas, and delivering gifts to her friends and family, she sets out to find Santa Claus.
But this darling little girl with rosy cheeks and blonde braids, she doesn’t just throw on some snow pants and mittens. No. Throughout this story she is bedecked in a lovely woolen sweater, long woolen red dress, bright red woolen gnome hat, handknit mittens, and behold, the curly-toed fur boots atop the long wooden skis. Be still my heart!
During her journey to the North Pole, brave Anja is aided by a bright red cardinal, a horse (who stays with her for hours while they’re spellbound by the Northern Lights then walks her through the night), a gentle and trustworthy musk ox (who leads her through a giant ice cave), a friendly polar bear (who delights in hearing Anja read him stories, and who carries her across the frozen tundra), and finally a reindeer, who pulls Anja on her skis both on land and through the air to her final destination (there is actual airborne skijoring toward the end). And when Santa appears, he is everything she could have hoped for, and he lovingly asks her to help him drive his sleigh. The next thing Anja knows, she’s waking up in her bed, holding tightly to the bell given to her by Santa. Was it a dream? Was it real?
I am so in love with this book, last year we kept it in our rotation well after Christmas (like, into springtime). The photographs are so crisp and clean, the costume is dead-on, the story so sweet. I’m thrilled to pull it out again to read to the kids. And for that matter, to pull it out when I’m alone and just gaze at the photographs (which I’ve really taken terrible pictures of for this post, I apologize. You’ll just have to get down to the library or your local independent bookstore to find the real thing…).
What are your favorite Christmas stories?