LAUREL, Md. If you are looking for a new Christmas story to read to your children at bedtime, The Christmas Wish will happily fit the bill. Written by Lori Evert, The Christmas Wish is reminiscent of popular books by Jan Brett. Inspired by a Nordic tale, Evert’s book has been illustrated with beautiful photographs, adding to its attraction. The artistic use of bright red to contrast against the pure white of the snow makes the pictures particularly stunning and evokes the holiday spirit.
In The Christmas Wish, we travel to a cold northern country in a time very long ago. Here we meet a little girl named Anja, who dreamed of becoming one of Santa’s Elves. As the winter days grew shorter, Anja decided to look for Santa Claus, but before she left, she remembered to help the old woman down the street. Anja decorated a gingerbread house, swept out the sauna, and found a small tree for the old woman.
Before she left, Anja delivered gifts to her friends and family. Finally ready to set off on her journey, Anja tied on her skis and set off into the forest, wondering aloud what she would do if she got lost. To her surprise a bird answered her, offering to help guide her to the North Pole.
Anja followed the bird through the snow-covered forest until they were met by a horse. The horse offered to let Anja sleep in his barn and said the next day he could take her as far as he could. Anja took the horse up on his offer. The next morning, they set out to resume the journey together, and the horse carried Anja for a day and a night. But when the next morning came, the horse called out and his friend the musk ox appeared.
The musk ox offered to take Anja to the frozen arctic tundra. Anja followed the giant animal until they were greeted by a great polar bear. The bear and Anja traveled over the ice and snow until the bear stopped to meet his friend, the reindeer, who took her the remaining distance to Santa Claus.
Santa told Anja she was an extraordinary little girl who helped him deliver holiday cheer year round, and asked if she would help him drive his sleigh. Anja was happy to help. They arrived near Anja’s home in the morning so that Anja could continue being a help to her friends and family. Before he left her, Santa gave Anja a magic bell to ring if she ever needed help. Then Anja woke up in her bed, clutching a bell and wondering if her entire journey had been a dream.
Children will love the tale of the journey with familiar animal friends in an effort to find Santa, and parents will appreciate the kind gestures Anja makes along the way as an example to their children.
If the children love Anja and the fantastic images of her adventure, check out Polar Bear Wish and Reindeer Wish, also by Lori Evert.
The Christmas Wish (ISBN: 978-0-449-81681-3) by Lori Evert with photos by Per Breiehagen was published by Random House Children’s Book on September 10, 2013. It is available as a hardcover or as an ebook.