by Wendy Watson
Holly's Christmas Eve
HarperCollins, October, 2002.
Picture Book, 32 pages.
On Christmas Eve, all the Christmas ornaments are sitting on the tree getting acquainted. When suddenly, out of nowhere, Bad Cat starts shaking the Christmas tree and climbing to the top. The terrified ornaments look on with dismay, and poor Wooden Doll loses a wooden arm. Bravely, Wooden Doll, Cloth Bear and Tin Horse leave the safety of the tree and go out in search of Wooden Doll's missing arm. After many adventures, they make it back to the living room, only to be surprised by Bad Cat. But Santa arrives in time, and Wooden Doll's arm is restored, good as new. Now all the ornaments are ready for a happy Christmas morning.
There has been a disturbing trend in children's book illustration over the past few years, as grotesque realism has become popular. Ghoulish figures of children, with outsized heads and freakish features repel, rather than attract children. Writer and illustrator Wendy Watson bucks this trend with her incredibly appealing paintings of the adventures of Wooden Doll and her friends. With a vivid use of color, strong lines and a deft portrayal of the little ornaments' expressive faces, Ms. Watson has created an instant classic. The story is amusing and Ms. Watson has a good ear for prose which simply begs to be read aloud -- over and over again.
Holly's Christmas Eve is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the December-January, 2003 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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