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Friday, December 20, 2013

the Christmas Wish, story by Lori Evert and photographs by Per Breiehagen. Random House, 2013. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"So Anja skied after the patient bird, who led slowly so the child could make her way through the deep snow. When they came to a mountainside, Anja flew so fast over the sparkling powder that the bird could barely keep up with her! At the foot of the mountain the bird whistled, and they were greeted by a giant horse."

Anja will need her friends to help her on her quest to be one of Santa's Elves. She has always dreamed of being able to assist Santa, and lives in the perfect place for it. It is a winter wonderland outside, but cold and even a bit dangerous. With a careful plan in mind, Anja will try to find Santa.

Before she goes, she ensures that her elderly neighbor has what she needs, and that all of Anja's gifts are delivered to her family and friends. So that no one worries, she leaves a note of explanation and promises to visit when the work is complete. She knows the route to take; and so, she sets off.

A tiny bird soothes any worry about losing her way when it promises guidance and company. The going gets tougher, and a giant horse offers a ride for a day and a night. Following a night filled with the wonder of the northern sky, Anja must say farewell to her trusty companion. He, too, has a friend who can be of assistance in the quest. A musk ox has promised safe passage 'under the glacier to the tundra'. On they go. Time is running out, and Christmas beckons.

From the ox, she is given into the giant paws of a majestic polar bear. Together they travel over the tundra, resting and reading when the need arises.

On the final leg of her journey, a reindeer gives help. He tugs her along on her skis when she cannot keep up, and ultimately flies her to a sleigh filled with toys...and Santa who has kind words to share:

"I have been waiting for you. You are an extraordinary little girl. While there are many children who wish to be one of Santa's Elves, you are the first to have come this far, and you are already my most important helper. You bring kindness and joy to those around you all year long. Thank you."

Isn't that the magic of Christmas?

This is a lovely family project. Dad is the photographer, Mom is the writer and their lovely wee daughter Anja is the focus of their story. 

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