Friday, September 11, 2009

Review: Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered what happens to your ornaments each year as they sit through the spring, summer, and fall, waiting for the season to come around again so they can pop out and have a look-see at the world again? In this cute Christmas story, a set of ornaments come alive each night after dark, to talk, hang out, and have ornament get-togethers--all overlooked by the Tree Lord, who keeps them in order. Even the lights on the tree are animate, and blink and move about the tree. For Larry, a Christmas snow-man, this Christmas is a troubled one, as he can't find his brother. After searching the tree, braving brown and dying limbs, he determines (along with a couple of friends) to go in search of his brother. Their adventures lead them to surprising, and even startling discoveries, that make you wonder...what if my ornaments really did come alive?

Review: I really wanted to like this hearty little tale of Christmas, and the heart-stopping adventure of a small group of Christmas ornaments out to find their friend and brother (who didn't make it to the tree). However, I did feel that the writing resembled a script, more than a story. Some of the jarring issues in writing slowly worked out somewhat by the middle of the book, and I thought the story itself was a cute idea.

I actually think that this would make a fabulous children's story, marketed to and for children. In fact, I'm certain that with a few added pictures, this would be a perfect bedtime story for older children/preteens. As it is now, in it's hardcover form and several hundred pages, you do think this will be a Christmas story that has adult appeal. This didn't necessarily strike me as a book for adults, but one that would make a great read if read aloud to children or pre-teens. I would recommend this for those readers that have older children, as I think this would be a fun book leading up to the holidays!

For more information: Secrets of a Christmas Box.


  1. I like what you had to say about this one. Maybe you send your ideas into the publishing company and who knows they may try to re-do this book in a better format for the younger crowd.

  2. I agree that this is a good idea and should probably be geared toward children.

    Nice review!

  3. I write children's fiction and I really appreciated your insight with this review. The pressure's always on in the last half of the year to submit some sort of christmas story, So far I've resisted because it always felt a bit forced. I'm certain one year a story will flow quite naturally, but I'd rather wait for this to happen. Your review makes me feel I've made the right decision. Thank you.
    Maureen Hume.

  4. This books is SEVERAL HUNDRED PAGES? Uh, yeah. That's way too long. It sounds like it would be cute as a picture book like The Polar Express, though.

    When I first started your review, I actually got pretty excited because my mom has stories for all her ornaments. There are two--a ballerina and a nutcracker--that she always hangs next to each other on tree, and always packs facing one another together in the box. She says they're in love and they have to be together during the summer so they don't get sad and lonely.

  5. Oh, speaking of ornaments coming to life, have you seen this video on YouTube? Cutest thing ever!

  6. I have given you an award!

    Happy Sunday!

  7. I'm planning on reviewing this book early December. I'll have to see what I think of it.