Written and Illustrated by Peter Collington
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1990
The plot in a nutshell: A fairy guides Santa to a little girl’s house
It’s Christmas Eve and the little girl writes her letter to Santa and leaves it, with her stocking, on the end of her bed. After she falls asleep, a fairy reads her letter and then summons other fairies, who each take a candle from the tree and line the street leading to the girl’s house, making it easier for Santa to see. The fairy gives Santa the girl’s letter and he brings the presents inside, setting them on and around her bed. At one point, he drops one and the girl wakes up, but Santa and the fairy duck safely out of sight and the fairy sprinkles the girl with fairy dust to put her back to sleep. In the morning, the girl is overjoyed with her new toys and the fairy goes back to her tree home.
My first exposure to this story was the 1992 animated version, which I really enjoyed. (I’ll be posting my review of the special on my Christmas special blog tonight.) Like the animated special, this book carries a dedication to chimneyless children everywhere. The story itself has a lovely simplicity to it, making it very easy to follow without any words or dialogue. My neighborhood puts out luminaries every year, so we always saw this as a type of origin story for the tradition of luminaries and I love the idea of parents explaining to their kids that they are putting them out to help guide Santa.
The illustrations are presented graphic novel-style, with some pages featuring multiple panels and others featuring full page pictures. Everything seems to have a soft, muted tone, which gives it a nice other-worldliness that suits the magical aspects of the story. My only issue with the artwork is that some of the facial proportions go a little wonky, causing the little girl to look horribly swollen or poor Santa to look full of malevolence, which is not a look you want Santa to have as he’s standing by a little girl’s bedside. The majority of the pictures, though, are lovely, making this book a wonderful addition to your Christmas library.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that the holidays are a time for magic. Hope you have a very merry Christmas!