October 6, 2009

Stanley's Christmas a book review

The following is a review by Don Blankenship:
Stanley the Christmas Tree, A Wish Come True by R. E. Hughes and illustrated by Anita Saunders is a wonderful little Christmas story that is certain to warm the hearts of all who read it.
Stanley is a small tree, growing with other trees on a Christmas tree farm and his dream is to be taken by a household with children, for as the other bigger trees are quick to point out, Stanley is certainly no large enough to be a tree chosen for a large city as the city tree. Stanley makes every effort to grow straight and tall and full so that a family will chose him as their special tree.
The day comes when the trees are harvested and Stanley finds himself in a Christmas tree lot. After being insulted, again, by other trees, Stanley is finally chosen by an older man and is on his way to his new home for Christmas. He is decorated, presents placed under his branches and his dreams seem to be coming true.
But alas, as with so many dreams and plans, much goes awry, and to make this review short, Stanley finds himself stripped of his decorations and in an alley with some rather sarcastic trash cans; and all of this before Christmas!
Despair? Well I should think so! Stanley has only one decoration left; a candy cane and wouldn’t you know it… a stray dog comes by and takes even that from our little tree, which was great for the dog, but rather a last slap on the face for Stanley.
Now I have a strict policy of never giving away spoilers in my reviews, but I will tell you that through a bit of luck, if luck you want to call it, (I personally think there was much more going on here, to be quite frank), all turns out well for Stanley and not only does he find a fine Christmas home, but helps and adds so much to several other lives, which is truly in the spirit of Christmas, when you really think about it.
This is a lovely little Christmas story and is quite well written. The art work by Anita Saunders drifts between reality and whimsy and is very well done. The entries book is professionally produced and is of good quality and even though it is paperback, it should hold up well over the years. The print quality and quality of the paper used is the best.
It should be noted that there is a CD audio version of this book, ISBN 978-0-0820328-1-7 which is a wonderful reading of this story by Paul Mackenzie and includes some wonderful and original music by Maynad Williams, in addition to the reading.
This is a great read along book and it has been kid tested. I tried this one out, along with the CD on two different classes of second grade students just a few days ago, and they loved it. I even had one parent contact me the next day as to where they might get a copy as their child liked it so well. Being endorsed by kids is about as good an endorsement that you can get for a children’s book.
Check out the website, www.stanleythechristmastree.com or the publisher's website www.pennierich.com

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