WASHINGTON, June 21, 2015 – Humans are infatuated with the idea of making wishes. Ever since the genie appeared to Aladdin, people have debated what to wish for and the costs and benefits of making wishes.
In “The Dangerous Christmas Ornament,” author Bob Siegel gives 12-year-old Mike Owen the ability to make wishes. Not just one, not just three, but an unlimited number. Mike’s eccentric Aunt Loureen arrives with an ornament empowered to grant Mike’s desires and dispels Mike’s belief that “there’s no such thing as magic.”
The wishes last throughout the Christmas season, defined as until the last house removes its Christmas lights.
However, as Aunt Loureen notes, there are two important conditions for what Mike can wish for. One, the wishes have to be reasonable. “The ornament has a mind of its own,” says Loureen, so Mike can’t “ask it to send you to Mars or to make you president of the United States.” Two, whenever Mike makes a wish, something bad happens to whoever is in the room with him.
For a 12-year-old, the trade-off initially doesn’t seem so bad. He gets what he wants, even if it does impact those around him. Emphasis on the part about he gets what he wants.
The book takes the reader on an exciting adventure, featuring the intelligent and sarcastic talking cat, Caligula, a body double, trouble and self-discovery.
And the ultimate twist challenges the reader to think about space and time and dimensions beyond our current comprehension.
The book is, literally, a page-turner that will delight children and adults alike. Readers will find a piece of themselves in Mike, whom Siegel portrays perfectly. He develops the 12-year-old deftly, making him real to readers. They will adore Aunt Loureen and empathize with Mike’s oh-so-prickly father. They will remember their first love and the pain of betrayal from a friend.
Caligula the cat is a wonderfully clever addition to the story. He steals the book with his caustic insight, making all readers wonder just what their own pets would say if they could talk.
The real gift of “The Dangerous Christmas Ornament” is the lessons it weaves amid the adventure. It reminds us of the social and personal responsibility we share, and the repercussions of our actions on those around us.
The book also makes us look at our families a little differently. The ornament helps Mike see the father Mike thinks he knows in a completely new light. It nudges us to reconsider the assumptions we have about those closest to us, and to reconsider the motivations behind the actions.
This is a book for all seasons. It is not about the magic of Christmas, but about the magic of family and love, and the cost of greed and selfishness.
“The Dangerous Christmas Ornament” has adventure, entertainment and some extremely important lessons. What more could you ask for in a book?
You can read more from Bob Siegel here.
You can buy The Dangerous Christmas Ornament from Amazon, here.